Though it’s nearing the end of summer, bicyclists will still be hitting the roads for the next couple of months. Hopefully most of them will be wearing helmets, though you will invariably see a few who are not because of the undesirable fashion statement and/or inconvenience of post-ride “helmet hair” (though having seen some of the injuries associated with not wearing helmets, this author believes that people who subscribe to the latter reason have not encountered true inconvenience.) These people may be in luck, however, thanks to the work of Hövding, a design/engineering/generally awesome company based in Sweden.
The invisible bike helmet is essentially a (visible) collar that bicyclists wear around their necks, the idea being that it will appeal to both users’ fashion sense and ergonomic need for insulation. Upon sensing an impact, the collar uses a small helium gas inflator to blow up a hood-shaped nylon airbag around the user’s head in about 100 milliseconds – cushioning the cranium before impact. The collar also contains a black box that records 10 seconds of movement data (from embedded accelerometers and gyros) during, and immediately before, a cycling accident. For more information, check out the video below.
This appears to be an exciting development for bicyclists who don’t have many options when it comes to fashionable head protection. We previously covered a nascent solution for motorcyclists that embedded a fast cooling mechanism in the helmet and are glad to see that an increasing number of companies are working on cool, potentially life-saving technologies like these.