The Crazy High-Concept Inflatable Bike Helmet Is Finally Buyable

If you're sick of your bike helmet and you'd rather have something that looks like a giant baseball mitt to protect your cranium, you're in luck. After seven whole years of development, the Hövdin invisible helmet is finally available for purchase.

It's not so much invisible as it deflates to look more like a scarf when you're not using it. The ridiculous part is that it was designed by two women at the Faculty of Engineering at Lund University in Sweden who said they "wouldn't be seen dead in a polystyrene helmet". So, they went with this? Fashion makes no sense.

But it's not just a statement -- it actually keeps your brain safe. Accelerometers and gyrometers can tell whether you're just riding or you're actually in an accident, and when they sense an abnormal movement, a inflator pumps helium into the crazy thing, making a soft airbag for your sweet, fragile brain. It's powered by an onboard battery that's charged through a microUSB port.

You can buy it in two sizes -- small or medium -- for $US600 a pop. For another $US75 you can buy shells to change the style of the scarf. Hey, a high-concept helmet has to be properly accessorised. [FastCo]



    awsome video/gif but i think helmet also need to protect you from sharp forces. Wouldnt spikes or broken glass would go through that?

      Probably the same reason our normal car Air Bag could not protect you from spikes and broken glass. Not everything is perfect but it is definitely safe enough to protect you from having head injuries. Sharp objects would probably stab your brain and kill you on the spot except you have an iron helmet that weights 5-7kg. But then you will still die from falling down to the main road with speedy car because the iron helmet weight will most likely make you unstable.

      Pessimist =P

      Helmets are only there to protect against blunt force trauma.
      Personally I'm more worried about cracking my skull and breaking my neck then I am about slicing myself open on glass/sharp objects.

    I am not sure about the face, other than looking like a head-crab making love to your skull, your jaw would get a rough beating if you didn't have a full face mask. I guess it's human instinct to turn their head away from anything on coming.

      It's not as if bike helmets protect your face anyway...

    Two questions immediately spring to mind (well, many, many more, but 2 practical ones):
    - Is there some sort of warning system if you neglect to charge it?
    - Will Aussie police actually accept this as a substitute for wearing a helmet, or will you have to cop a few fines as well in the name of 'fashion'?

      I think it beeps at you if you neglect to charge it.
      That's my question; I want to know if it will be approved by the relevant safety bodies in Australia so you don't get a fine for "not wearing a helmet" by police.

        Judging by the number of times I've seen helmetless cyclists cycle past police (in cars or on foot) with no repercussions it appears that police are more concerned with enforcing laws that actually make a difference.

        Last edited 05/10/12 5:23 pm

          I agree; I've only ever seen one person being booked for not wearing a helmet. I imagine it would be hard to convince a police officer that you are wearing this helmet if he'd never heard of it.
          "Yeah yeah it's like an air bag that you wear around your neck like a scarf! A Sweedish company make it! You have to charge it via USB for it to work though. See this flashing red light? It means it's turned on!"

          The times have definitively changed. Police were militant about wearing a helmet when riding a bicycle when I was growing up. I remember it was in response to a string of cyclist deaths (mainly kids) from not wearing a helmet when they were hit by cars.

    Not a supersmart article, did you even read about it properly? The thing ONLY inflates when/if you have an accident...all other times it just looks like a scarf. Also, it's Hovding...not hovdin.

    How will this protect me from magpies when I ride my bicycle?

    Is it one use, or can it be packed up and re-used?

      I think it's one use only, but on the website you can return it after it goes off and they can analyse the data it records and reuse the parts, plus they will give you a big discount on a second one.

    I am expecting to read over the next few years stories of these things false-activating at inappropriate times.

    "I bent down to tie up my shoe lace and then ... BAAAMN!"

    That's from a flat impact. What's the abrasion resistance for it sliding on the road surface? Probably none and pops straight away.

    I would ride more safely just to not risk it inflating after a minor fall, how embarrassment

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