$450 bicycle helmet disguises safety device as fashion accessory.
The Hövding (Swedish for “Chief”, Bork Bork Bork) is a head protection system that remains hidden in a vaguely stylish collar until you need it in a crash. The collar contains a folded airbag which deploys in a crash. The airbag then poofs out into a big hood that wraps around your head so your head is okee-dokee, yaaa, bork bork bork.
Here’s the collar with the airbag hidden away. Note how attractive you can become just by wearing the Hovding collar!
And here’s the Hovding after it’s deployed.
The inventors borrowed from existing technology used for motorcycles. The gas generator is one of the smallest gas generators on the market, according to Hovding’s website. Accelerometers trigger the airbag’s release. The video shows the helmet in action in various crash scenarios. The endo at the end is particularly fun to watch.
I’m amazed that even bike-riding European crash test dummies seem better dressed than their American counterparts.
The helmets, which will be sold in Sweden, will be available for about 3000 Swedish Kronas, or about US$450, begining in 2011. Sweden is a member of the European Committee for Standardization (CEN), but I’m not familiar with the European standard. Some creative interpretation might be necessary if the makers want this to pass the US CPSC bike helmet standards testing.
You can see more photos of beautiful Scandinavians wearing the Chief airbag at Hovding.com.