Washington: Two Swedish women have invented a bicycle helmet that remains invisible unless you need the headgear which is designed to inflate in a fraction of a second.
The Hovding has been invented by Anna Haupt and Terese Alstin to solve the issues we all have with helmets like giving bad hair. The Hovding looks like a collar at first, worn around the neck. Inside it is an air bag, similar to the ones in your car.
The helmet also has a "black box", similar to ones on airplanes, to record the movements of the cyclist, and recognise the acceleration and angular velocity during an accident. "It became mandatory for children to wear a helmet in Sweden and many people didn't use them," ABC News quoted Haupt as saying.
"We wanted to see if there was a way to change today's helmets and wanted people to wear them by free will, not by law.
"We found out people wanted something that was almost invisible that didn't destroy their hair or annoy them, something with the possibility to change the looks of the helmet like they can with mobile phone shells and wigs," she said.
According to the company's website, shaped like a hood, the air bag is triggered when sensors - a combination of accelerometers and gyroscopes, pick up "abnormal movements of a bicyclist in an accident".
The air bag can inflate and surround your head in 0.1 seconds. A small gas inflator fills it with helium. It needs to be powered on for which there is a power button and when it's on, LEDs light up to tell you how much electricity you have to work the inflator.
There is also a sound to tell you it is powered on in case you cannot see it around your neck. That means you also have to charge the invisible helmet. It uses a microUSB port and the company says a charge lasts about a month during normal use.
The data is stored in the Hovding so the company can then see what sort of accident it was. As with any wearable gadget, the women put effort into the design.
It is obviously more invisible than current helmets, and there's an added bit to make it blend in even more. The collar has a removable liner so you can change it to match your shirt.
First Published On : Aug 22, 2012 18:39 IST