Two Swedish women have designed an airbag helmet as a university project. It is meant for cyclists. Terese Alstin and Anna Haupt had their World patent application System and method for protecting a bodypart publishedas long ago as May 2007.
The Hövding® (“Chieftain” in Swedish) is a collar containing an airbag, helium as the inflating agent, and a sensor including gyroscopes and accelerometers. It only looks rather like a helmet when inflated. A USB port is used to charge it, and the act of putting it on activates it.
According to wired.com
“Hövding means “chieftain” in Swedish, and the air-helmet was designed by Swedes Anna Haupt and Terese Alstin as a university thesis project. The collar contains the bag itself, helium to inflate the airbag and sensors which tell the Hövding when to fire. The sensor unit consists of gyroscopes and accelerometers which constantly monitor movement and deploy to bag when you’re in danger. The device is charged by USB (firmware can also be updated via the same port) and you switch it on by zipping the collar shut around your neck.”
The airbag helmet is expected to cost around £300 when it goes on sale next spring.
Hovding® website –
The Hovding® website looks like a fashion shoot, reflecting perhaps the fact that the designers are women. The site mentions that there is a Swedish law that cyclists under the age of 15 must wear a helmet, and that there was the possibility of extending it to adults.
This dismayed the inventors and many others, who thought helmets impractical, awkward, etc. The inventors said that the product needed to change, to in effect an invisible bicycle helmet.