I’m fortunate to live in a city where there’s a culture of cycling as a driving alternative, so you certainly don’t feel like an idiot wearing a “hard-mushroom” on your head. On the contrary, you look like an idiot without head protection. This is why I wasn’t initially knocked on my ass by the HÖVDING – Invisible Helmet… It’s a cool idea, but a bit gimmicky.
After diving in and wrapping my head around the technology used and the reliability of the product, I think this is definitely an innovative idea that there is a need for in the market.
This is how it works: The invisible bicycle helmet uses rechargeable battery-powered accelerometers and gyroscopes that detect the typical motions involved in a bike crash. They trigger a tiny gas inflator which instantly fills a nylon airbag with helium. The bag forms a hood around your head that cushions the impact of the street, a car, or anything else you slam into.
This is such a clever use of the ever-developing accelerometer technologies. I couldn’t have come up with this… I would have invented something like a drinking glass that yells for your attention when it’s knocked over… ‘Help! I’m tipping! tipping! Get a cloth, I’m tipped).
The main reservation I have off right off-the-bat is that rechargeable batteries hate me. I would fully charge the thing, get on my bike, and have a low battery warning beeping the entire time, ruining my Sunday ride. I’m also prone to sudden and over-dramatic movements, so I’m concerned that someone will whistle or call my name, I’ll quickly jerk my head to look, and POOF! I’m in a marshmallow. Also, the thing will set you back $600.
Anyway, here’s a little video feature on the helmet’s inventors and how they came up the idea: