Conversation With the Team Behind Third Generation Revolutionary Innovation The Hövding Helmet

Designed to keep cyclists safe, the Hövding 3, in the event of an accident, promises to inflate in 0.1 seconds.

A few years back, we wrote about a bicycle helmet designed by a team of innovative Swedes, who had a lightbulb moment back in 2005. From concept to approved certified product, the first version of the airbag cycle helmet was introduced in 2015. Named the Hövding, the invisible airbag helmet was not only functional it also showed stylish potential.

Worn around the neck like a collar, the airbag technology protects up to 8x better than traditional plastic helmets, thanks to sensors inside the collar that can read the cyclist’s movement pattern 200 times per second. With more than 185,000 Hövdings now sold, our curiosity about this out of the box product continues to be aroused, so we had a conversation with the team behind the world’s safest bicycle helmet to find out more.

What inspired the creation of Hövding airbag for cyclists?

The idea for a new type of cycle helmet was born in 2005 when Swedish legislation made it mandatory for children under 15 to wear cycle helmets. There was also debate about whether adults should be forced to wear helmets as well. Two industrial design students, Anna Haupt and Terese Alstin decided to find out whether it was possible to design a cycle helmet that people would want to use even without being forced to do so by law. In their degree project, they developed the concept of the airbag cycle helmet. It then took just over seven years to develop Hövding from idea to approved, certified product. The work to create an airbag for cyclists had an unexpected but welcome side effect. Hövding’s unique airbag system turned out to give cyclists superior protection against head injuries. Tests at the well-reputed Stanford University showed that Hövding’s airbag technology provides up to eight times better protection against brain injuries than a traditional cycle helmet. There have also been other powerful statements by road safety experts.

According to scientific studies, the airbag technology is up to 8x safer than traditional bicycle helmets, can you explain how the airbag for cyclists works?

Hövding is fitted with accelerometers and gyroscopic sensors that register acceleration and rotation around the neck of the cyclist. When it is switched on, Hövding records a cyclist’s movements 200 times a second. In the event of an accident, it detects the cyclist’s abnormal movement, and the airbag is inflated.

More than 3,200 accidents were staged with stuntmen and over 2,000 hours of regular cycling were performed. This data collection forms the basis for the algorithm in Hövding 3.

Hövding’s algorithm is based on collected patterns of movement. Ahead of the launch of Hövding 3, Hövding assembled the most extensive volume of data on cycling movements and accidents ever collected. More than 3,200 accidents were staged with stuntmen and over 2,000 hours of regular cycling were performed. This data collection forms the basis for the algorithm in Hövding 3. All accidents staged with stuntmen were filmed with high-speed cameras and analysed. We looked at whether the fall was natural and at various features of the accidents. These analyses gave us good indicators of when a person falls and what it looks like. This analysis, along with our vast database of patterns of movement in accidents, means that we can call ourselves world leaders in knowledge about cycling accidents.

What materials are the Hövding 3 made out of?

The collar is sewn in a waterproof functional fabric that provides the best possible protection for the integrated airbag system. The collar itself cannot be washed but is protected against wear, sweat and dirt by the surrounding fabric cover. The removable, washable cover makes it easy to change the appearance of a Hövding.

When it comes to connection, what can we expect from the Hövding 3?

Hövding 3 launches with an app compatible with iOS and Android mobile operating systems. The app tells you how far you have cycled and the remaining battery time and can also contribute to safer cycling in the future. The cycle data we collect show us where accidents occur frequently and where there are large numbers of cyclists. It also gives us insights into how cycling infrastructure should be developed. The smart connection also offers an ICE (In Case of Emergency) function. This permits a text message to be sent to next-of-kin in the event of an accident involving airbag inflation, including the coordinates of the accident site.

How will a customer’s bicycle data be used?

To date, we have collected data from over 160 000 cycle trips and an accumulated distance of 12 laps around the world. This will, as cycling increase going into spring, accelerate further. Data that will become useful in our continuous product development and valuable for cities working for better and safer cycling. At the end of 2020, we anticipate we will have millions of trips logged, giving a useful understanding of urban cycling pinpointing areas in need of improvement and insight on how to go about making cities safer for cyclists.

Will any fall will trigger inflation?

Hövding’s algorithm is based on collected patterns of movement. Ahead of the launch of Hövding 3, Hövding assembled the most extensive volume of data on cycling movements and accidents ever collected. More than 3,200 accidents were staged with stuntmen and over 2,000 hours of normal cycling were performed. This data collection forms the basis for the algorithm in Hövding 3. All accidents staged with stuntmen were filmed with high-speed cameras and analysed. We looked at whether the fall was natural and at various features of the accidents. These analyses gave us good indicators of when a person falls and what it looks like. This analysis, along with our large database of patterns of movement in accidents, means that we can call ourselves world leaders in knowledge about cycling accidents.

Can the fit be adjusted?

Yes, we have BOA-system to adjust to best fit.

How long can the battery last?

About 15 hours of active cycling

Today we have bicycles, e-bikes, scooters, skateboards and even electric unicycles, so who is the target customer?

Urban cyclists. Bicycles e-bikes but not for scooters. Hövding’s algorithm is only for normal bicycles.

Which environments best suit the Hövding 3?

Urban cycling

Is the Hövding 3 easily portable?

Yes!

Designed for both women and men, I look forward to giving the Hövding 3 a test run. Review to follow.

Founding Editor in Chief at | editor@fashnerd.com | Website

Founding editor-in-chief & WearableTechStylist of FashNerd.com, Muchaneta has worked in the fashion industry for over 14 years. She is currently one of the leading influencers speaking and writing about the merger of fashion with technology and wearable technology and a regular contributor to digital news sites like Wareable.