Science, Tech & Environment

Are you ready for the 'invisible' bicycle helmet?

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InvisibleBikeHelmet900.jpg

Credit: Hövding
The innovative helmet is hidden in the collar.

If you don't like bicycle helmets but worry about your safety, check this new European innovation out.

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Swede Terese Alstin came up with the idea of an 'invisible' bike helmet as part of her master's thesis in Sweden. She did a great deal of research, determined what the motion of a bicycle crash is like, and then created a sensor to trigger a  hidden airbag to inflate in a tenth of a second around your head when you crash.

The Hövding helmet, rather than resting atop a rider's head, is stored inside a fashionable neckwrap, waiting to be deployed when needed.

"You put the collar around your neck and there's a zip at the front of the collar, you zip it up, and then there's an on-off button that you need to activate the system with," Alstin said. "So you push the on-off button and you hear a sound signal that says 'dootle la doot,' and then you know that it's on."

The researchers claim the helmet is actually safer than an ordinary bicycle helmet because of the degree of all-around protection it provides to the neck and all sides of the head. 

Of course, as with most new technologies, the helmet doesn't come cheap. The Hövding retails for 399 euros, or about $530. But preventing head injuries is a worthy investment, Alstin says.

"I would never go cycling anywhere without it. I know too much about what can go wrong in cycling accidents. I know everything about how you can get seriously injured just from a minor crash. I would not wear any other protection," she said.

A previous version of this story misstated Terese Alstin's name.

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