Malmö, Sweden — Somewhere in Sweden, two women are changing the face of bicycling for the next generation of cyclists who prefer to rely on cycling as a means of safe and efficient transportation.
Building on the idea that nobody wants to wear a helmet while they ride their bicycles, they set off to build a contraption that could save your life and not ruin your hair on your way to work or a date.
After studying seven years of crash data, Anna Haupt and Terese Alstin, who studied industrial design at Lund University in Sweden, created a remarkable helmet that's essentially invisible, that is, until you need it.
"Although people are well aware of the risks on the roads, the vast majority are choosing to bicycle without a helmet," say the inventors on their website. "But when it comes down to it, people do really want to protect their heads in road accidents, but there are limits. It isn't the bicyclists who need to change, it's the product."
Hövding, Swedish for the leader of a group, is an airbag contained in a stylish collar that a cyclist wears around the neck. Sensors inside of the collar detect unusual and sudden motion, like when one is involved in a car accident, and deploys the bag with a small gas inflator. There is also a "black box" of sorts that is featured on the collar, and records 10 seconds of audio and crash data just before and during the accident.
Hövding is a one-time-use product, just like any other helmet. So once the bag has been deployed, you can send the company the product for proper recycling and data collection, and in return, they'll give you a discount on another helmet.
While standard polystyrene helmets can cost up to $200 for really high-end, top of the line models, Hövding costs about $600, which of course is a lot of money to shell out for a helmet. But, if you're keen on expensive shoes and clothing, you might want to consider this garment, err helmet, as an indispensible accesory for any of your couture outfits.
Afterall, you can probably justify the purchase because it could ultimately save your life, and maybe your ego.