Hovding: The Invisible Bike Helmet


Thanks to the growing popularity of Ikea, the Swedish are now well-known for inventing cleverly designed items that seem to effortlessly find a way to exist in that precious space between beauty and practicality. It makes sense then that what could quite possibly be one of the biggest advances in cycling technology would come from none other than the Swedes themselves.

For industrial designers Anna Haupt and Terese Alstin, cycling is the future. They see cars as slowly becoming a part of our past as we maneuver through our crowded world using the conveniently green power of our own two legs. However, when maneuvering through busy roadways, protection is critical, and wearing a helmet is as important for road safety as putting on a safety belt in a traditional vehicle. As riders themselves, neither really enjoyed wearing them, though, a sentiment, which Haupt and Alstin came to recognize was common amongst other cyclists as well. This meant that riders would often forfeit the safety benefits of helmet wearing, simply because it caused them discomfort during their ride.

To find a solution to this problem and make the roads safer for all, the two women have spent the last seven years studying the physics behind how riders bodies’ are impacted in crashes in order to make a helmet that is not only worth wearing, but also comfortable to wear, making it so that more riders would opt to put them on, and keep them on during the course of their rides. In what could be one of the most fashion forward safety moves ever and after much research, the two women ultimately invented the Invisible bike helmet.

The airbag helmet itself is housed in a scarf like band that is worn around the neck, and appears to be powered on once the clasp is sealed. The airbag is housed inside a sleeve, which looks like something straight out of a North Face catalog. Once the airbag is powered on, it then begins to monitor the movements of it’s wearer, inflating into a protective helmet only when it senses that there has been an impact. Not only does the airbag helmet protect the rider’s skull, but the inflatable design allows for a larger helmet to be stored easily, and thus also protects the neck as well. It’s even got one of those unpronounceable Ikea names: the Hovding.

Despite the potential success of the product itself, the women have been faced with the challenge of navigating their business in a male-dominated world, and have faced their share of consequences and hurdles. However, they have been able to raise over a million dollars in funding from investors, a sure sign of the viability of the invisible bike helmet.

The women recently teamed up with GE and documentary filmmaker Fredrik Gertten to create a three-minute short film for GE’s focus forward film series, a series of 30 three-minute stories about, “innovative people who are reshaping the world through act or invention, directed by the world’s most celebrated documentary filmmakers.” The short recently made it’s way to Vimeo’s staff pick.

Learn more about the invisible bike helmet on the Hovding website, and watch the GE Focus Forward film below.




Category: Technology