In case you didn’t know, a concussion is one of the major causes of brain injury. Many of the regular bicyclists out there face the danger of concussion every day by not wearing the appropriate gear. For most, the proper protective equipment includes a cumbersome bicycle helmet. And even that does not entirely eliminate the possibility of injury. But what if there was a way to protect yourself against head injuries and look fashionable, without the limitations of a traditional helmet? Please welcome the Hövding airbag helmet to the stage.
In 2016, Dr. David Camarillo and his team at Stanford University who research the optimum design for a concussion-proof helmet, conducted a number of tests showing that Hövding, an airbag that in the event of an accident expands to become both thicker and softer than a traditional helmet, reduces the risk of concussion up to eight times and almost completely eliminates the risk of a skull fracture.
The Design of Hövding Airbag Helmet
The Hövding airbag consists of two parts: a collar and a cover.
Its creators designed it like a hood and made it out of sturdy nylon fabric that doesn’t rip if it scrapes against the rough surface on the ground. It protects nearly the entire head, leaving the field of vision open. The inflated airbag protects a much larger area than a traditional bicycle helmet.
The so-called cold gas inflator that inflates the helmet uses helium and is located in the collar on the cyclist’s back. The collar gadget is made of black, waterproof, dirt- and sweat-repellent fabric and is easy to put on, with a center-front zip. A hook on the inside of the collar allows you to hang up your Hövding airbag helmet.
The collar has an ergonomic design with even weight distribution across the shoulders. It is a bit heavier at the back than at the front so when you’re cycling the weight is resting on your back.
Also interesting: Morpher, The Foldable Bicycle Helmet Innovation
The airbag fixates the neck and provides very soft and gentle shock absorption. In case of an accident, the pressure remains constant for several seconds, making it able to withstand multiple head impacts suffered. After that, the airbag slowly starts to deflate.
Based on thousands of tests, the creators of the airbag helmet developed an algorithm that can differentiate normal cycling from accidents. When activated, Hövding records the cyclist’s movements 200 times a second. In the event of an accident, the collar detects cyclist’s abnormal movement and inflates the airbag in 0,1 seconds.
Using the Hövding Airbag Helmet
Just put the collar around your neck and pull the zip up under your chin. You need to completely close the zip in order for the collar to work correctly. Make sure you activate your Hövding collar only when you’re cycling. You can do this by attaching the button to the zip tag to the right-hand side of the collar. Deactivate your Hövding helmet by detaching the button.
LEDs in the front part of your collar show the battery level and whether it is activated or not. A sound signal follows the activation.
You can easily charge the battery through a USB charger with a cable that comes with the product. A charged battery will last you about nine hours of active cycling, and you will know if the battery level is low thanks to both light and sound indicators.
At the moment, Hövding is available only in Europe and Japan, and it can be yours at a price of €299. Hopefully, they will expand into other regions soon. If you want to import it, you may want to try Amazon UK for that.
Don’t like the look of your Hövding? No worries, you can easily change its appearance by purchasing an extra cover for it. All the Hövding covers have different appearances and functionalities. However, covers produced för Hövding 1.0 cannot be used with Hövding 2.0. But that’s not a big problem, right? What do you think?
YouTube: Airbag Helmet for Bikes [Hövding Review]
Photo credit: The feature image has been taken by Jonas Ingerstedt for Hövding. All material has been provided under a creative commons license on the Hövding press portal.
Freelance writer / journalist / blogger. Tech enthusiast and gadget freak. Guitarist. Previously Al Jazeera journalist.