With its ‘airbag technology’, the invisible helmet scores over the conventional ones
While every car comes with an airbag to ensure safety, this technology has not yet reached its economic potential for motorcyclists and cyclists. But, a new helmet in the market, called Hövding, is set to change all that.
Anna Haupt and Terise Alstin are the people behind Hövding, a Swedish company that is developing airbag safety products for bicyclists, and eventually for motorcyclists. They started their initial research in 2005, as the thesis for their Master’s. It then was carried to a phase of further development for seven long years. They were successful, and the product went on sale from the summer of 2012.
Marketed as an “invisible helmet”, the Hövding is a wearable airbag that deploys rapidly and takes the form of a protective helmet as it inflates. The founders say that the helmet has shock absorbance that is more than three times better than traditional helmets and the airbag technology protects the brain much better than conventional helmets.
The helmet is targeted at people who cycle every day, especially during peak traffic hours when the number of vehicles on the roads increases exponentially. Many of these cyclists find it inconvenient to carry around a traditional hard helmet, and many feel that wearing a helmet is not very fashionable. The Hövding comes in different styles, and you can choose a style complementary to whatever you are wearing on a particular day.
Currently, people wear actively damped and sprung spherical shock absorbers on their heads when they are on their cycles or motorcycles. The Hövding has the ability to sense the nature of the impending collision by calculating the angle of the impact, the weight of the head in the helmet, and the material quality of the surface on which the impact will take place. The helmet will use all these parameters and will reorient itself for optimal surface contact and preload the spring and adjust the damping to minimize the g – forces that your head will experience.
There is still speculation about how the application for motorcyclists look like, for they have to take more factors into account – wind-blast, debris, and other elements at speed, and insulation of the head from adverse temperature and noise.
Therefore, there is always going to be a place for the passive safety and insulation from the elements that a conventional helmet provides. As of now, motorcycle airbag development does not incorporate coverage of the helmeted portion of the rider. If a secondary airbag system were to be included, then it would augment the dynamics of impact on the helmet, and it might turn out to be a unique and revolutionary way of saving more lives on the road. It is estimated that 24.4 percent of road accidents are fatal, as published by in the Journal of Orthopedics, Traumatology, and Rehabilitation. This can mean two things — a helmet is quite effective in limiting traumatic injuries to the head to a certain extent, and secondly, more research and data needs to be developed for the fatal injuries suffered by those who did wear a helmet. But, that is for the future. As of now, the helmet is available only for bicyclists, and it does seem to work as promised!
Know more details at http://www.hovding.com
(Ayyappa Nagubandi is an entrepreneur, inventor and co-founder of Possibillion Technologies)