Hövding is a bicycle helmet unlike any other currently on the market. It's ergonomic, it's practical, it complies with all the safety requirements, and it's also subtle and blends in with what else you are wearing.
Hövding is a collar for bicyclists, worn around the neck. The collar contains a folded up airbag that you'll only see if you happen to have an accident. The airbag is shaped like a hood, surrounding and protecting the bicyclist's head. The trigger mechanism is controlled by sensors which pick up the abnormal movements of a bicyclist in an accident.
The actual collar is the visible part of the invention. It's covered by a removable shell that you can change to match your outfit, and we'll be launching new designs all the time. Hövding is a practical accessory that's easy to carry around, it's got a great-looking yet subtle design, and it will save your life.
The airbag inflates and surrounds the head in case of an accident. The airbag consists of an inner and an outer hood, attached together by straps. It’s made in an ultra-strong nylon fabric that won’t rip when scraped against asphalt. The way the hood is designed and folded into the collar ensures that it will inflate quickly and safely. It takes about 0.1 seconds to inflate and the airbag will be fully inflated before head impact. Hövding protects nearly all of the head while leaving the field of vision open.
The protective area is designed according to current accident statistics, and the protection is greatest where it is needed most.
Gas is optimal as protective material. The airbag provides soft and effective shock absorption and maintains constant pressure for several seconds, making it able to withstand several impacts to the head in the same accident. After that the airbag slowly starts to deflate.
The gas inflator that inflates the airbag is placed in a holder in the collar on the bicyclist's back. Hövding's gas inflator is a cold gas inflator that uses helium and it's one of the smallest gas inflators on the market. A similar inflator is used in a motorcycle helmet with airbag system.
The airbag is deployed by sensors – accelerometers and gyros – that pick up a bicyclist's abnormal movements in the event of an accident. The sensors then send a signal to the gas inflator to inflate the airbag.Read more.
When Hövding is switched on, the sensors are constantly monitoring the wearer's movements. A bicyclist's movement patterns are divided into two different categories:
Normal movements: All bicycling in the city and on main roads, as well as all the normal movements you make before, during and after a bicycle ride such as running up and down steps, locking your bicycle, braking suddenly, giving way, pumping the tyres, etc. are defined as normal movements. Normal movements won't cause Hövding to inflate.
Abnormal movements: The movement patterns of a bicyclist in an accident are defined as abnormal movements. In an accident, a bicyclist's movements are completely different from those seen in normal bicycling. That's why the airbag is only triggered by accidents*.
To be able to distinguish between these two categories of movements, we've spent the past few years gathering data on the movement patterns of a large number of bicyclists in everyday bicycling situations. We've also re-enacted all known types of bicycling accident and recorded the movement patterns of bicyclists in these accidents. We staged fatal bicycling accidents using crash test dummies, while other bicycling accidents were re-enacted by stunt riders, male and female. We put all these movement patterns into our database and have developed a unique, patent pending, mathematical method for distinguishing between normal and abnormal movements. This method combined with the sensors is Hövding's brain.
*Hövding will only be deployed if the bicyclist makes an abnormal movement in an accident. This means that Hövding will not protect bicyclists from objects falling directly onto their head from above. However, this type of bicycling accident is extremely rare.
The collar with its shell is the visible part of Hövding, which encases the whole airbag system. All the components are located inside the collar for optimum ergonomics and performance. The weight of the collar is evenly distributed across the shoulders and it is heavier at the back than at the front so that when bicycling the weight is resting on your back. The instant it is triggered, the pressure from the airbag splits open the upper seam of the collar, allowing the hood to inflate around your head.
The collar is made of waterproof functional fabric, chosen to provide the ultimate protection for the airbag system it contains. The collar isn't washable but it is protected from wear, sweat and dirt by the surrounding fabric shell. Any marks on the collar can be rubbed off carefully with a damp cloth.
The shell surrounds the collar. The most important function of the shell is to enable you to change the look of your Hövding – every day if you feel like it. The shell is removable and attaches to the collar with zips. It's easy to change the shell to match your outfit, to suit the season or to wash it.
The shell's appearance can be varied in a virtually endless number of designs, colours, patterns and fabrics, turning Hövding into a fashion accessory. At the moment there are two different shell designs to choose from but we will be launching new collections all the time.
Unlike the collar, the shell is washable.
To put on your Hövding, place it around your neck and pull the zip at the front up under your chin. The zip needs to be completely closed for Hövding to work correctly. Hövding's on/off button is on the zip tag.
Hövding is switched on and off using the zip at the front of the collar. There is an on/off switch on the zip tag. Pull up the zip and button the on/off snap fastener on the right-hand side of the collar to turn Hövding on. Turn it off by unbuttoning the on/off snap fastener.
You'll hear a sound and LEDs light up to tell you that Hövding is switched on. When you turn it off, the lights go out and you'll hear another sound to tell you that Hövding has been switched off.
Battery life indicator
and USB port
At the front of the collar there is a plastic section with the following functions:
- An LED logo that lights up when Hövding is on
- Six LEDs showing the battery level
- A micro USB port for charging the battery
When Hövding is fully charged, all the LEDs will be lit. Hövding only uses battery power when it's switched on (using the on/off button on the collar). The lights will go out one by one as the battery runs down. When only the logo is lit, the battery level is very low and Hövding needs charging before the next bicycle ride.
When the battery is low, Hövding will start to make a beeping noise. The beeping increases in frequency until you charge the battery or until the battery runs out and Hövding is deactivated. When Hövding beeps for the first time, you've got about an hour's bicycling time left. When the battery runs out, Hövding will give an extra loud beep before it is deactivated to warn you that it is about to stop working.
Hövding is recharged from a computer using the USB cable included. Plug the cable into the USB port in the bottom edge of the plastic section. The LEDs will flash during charging and when Hövding is fully charged, they will all remain lit without flashing.
When Hövding is charged using a computer connected to the Internet, you can update the Hövding firmware from our website at the same time (if updates are available). You'll also be able to download new on and off sounds.
And of course you can also recharge your Hövding from a wall socket using an ordinary mobile phone charger with a micro USB connector. And chargers can be bought as accessories from our web shop.×
The "black box"
Inside Hövding there is a black box. The box records 10 seconds of data on the bicyclist's movement patterns during (and just before) a cycling accident. This data is interesting and valuable to us in our ongoing development work. We would be grateful if you could send in your Hövding to us if you are involved in a bicycling accident. We will examine the black box and recycle the product. To say thank you for your help, we'll give you a discount on a new Hövding in return.