Bicycle helmets are a pure aesthetic disaster and the death knell to any hairstyle. Many countries are discussing mandatory helmet laws and although no one disputes the benefits, most citizens are very sceptical regardless of the country they live in. Almost no one is willing to voluntarily place on of the ugly things on their heads.
Two young designers from Sweden have now demonstrated that bicycle helmets needn’t be ugly at all. Anna Haupt and Terese Alstin, founders of the Hövding start-up, studied industrial design at the University of Lund. Their master’s thesis from 2005 explored possible approaches to designing a cycling helmet people would enjoy wearing – whether they had to or not. Back then Sweden was toying with the idea of introducing legislation requiring helmets to be worn by children 15 years and under, then expanding it to include adults. This stirred up passionate debate, as one would expect. Haupt and Alstin developed an airbag helmet concept that was immediately honoured with an Innovationsbron Ideas Grant. But why limit themselves to just the theory? After completing their master’s thesis, the two women founded the “Hövding” company and began helmet production. Apparently they really struck a nerve: Sales of the Airbag Helmet soon went through the roof, so that Hövding now employs 17 people. And the awards kept coming.
The product – a helmet is in the eye of the beholder
Surprize – at Hövding, a helmet doesn’t look like a helmet at all, but like a round scarf. This is because the airbag does not deploy unless there is a crash. Sensors in the scarf collar measure vibrations and only react to critical values. Stomping the brakes won’t phase it a bit. In contrast to a normal helmet, the Airbag Helmet protects your neck and face too. Deployed it looks like something from the future. This won’t matter in the least during an accident or crash though when all you care about is protecting your head. For everyday use, Hövding is a sensation for all helmet haters – a helmet no one recognises as such. Well done, ladies! More info at: http://www.hovding.com/