The Invisible Bike Helmet from Swedish company Hövding is looking to completely reinvent what consumers expect from a piece of protection when cycling. The project started as an industrial design master thesis in 2005 by Anna Haupt and Terese Alstin – and after securing a significant amount of venture capital – the two women spent the better part of seven years looking to marry practicality, function and style. The resulting piece uses a collar which is worn around the neck that inflates into a hardened shell upon the detection of impact – seemingly a lot like an “air bag” for one’s noggin.
“The airbag inflates and surrounds the head in case of an accident. The airbag consists of an inner and an outer hood, attached together by straps. It’s made in an ultra-strong nylon fabric that won’t rip when scraped against asphalt. The way the hood is designed and folded into the collar ensures that it will inflate quickly and safely. It takes about 0.1 seconds to inflate and the airbag will be fully inflated before head impact. Hövding protects nearly all of the head while leaving the field of vision open.
The gas inflator that inflates the airbag is placed in a holder in the collar on the bicyclist’s back. Hövding’s gas inflator is a cold gas inflator that uses helium and it’s one of the smallest gas inflators on the market. A similar inflator is used in a motorcycle helmet with airbag system”