Designers of the Invisible Bike Helmet Describe Their Revolutionary Product in Short Documentary

It’s been all over the news recent­ly: two Swedish design stu­dents, Anna Haupt and Terese Alstin, have cre­at­ed what they call an “invis­i­ble bike hel­met.” This descrip­tion is a lit­tle mis­lead­ing. The Hövd­ing, as it’s been brand­ed, is not invis­i­ble so much as it’s con­tained, in a puffy, high tech col­lar, as an airbag that deploys upon impact and pro­tects the wear­er from the typ­i­cal head trau­ma cyclists suf­fer in acci­dents.

Work­ing with a head trau­ma spe­cial­ist and stag­ing acci­dents to col­lect move­ment pat­terns, Haupt and Alstin defi­ant­ly took on what they saw as a male-dom­i­nat­ed design estab­lish­ment. “Easy,” they say, “it only took us sev­en years.” They raised ten mil­lion dol­lars and pushed for­ward with a cer­tain amount of Scan­di­na­vian brava­do. The short doc above opens with a few quotes from the pair. “We’re going to save the world,” they tell us, “it’s chick­en to be a real­ist.” Upon see­ing their design, they say, a pro­fes­sor remarked (in Eng­lish), “I have to sit down… you’re going to be mil­lion­aires.”

Haupt and Alstin’s bom­bast is seduc­tive, but the prod­uct may not live up to the hype quite yet. As Tech Crunch report­ed last year, “Hövd­ing costs $600 and only works once. There’s also been some com­plaints about the design and an ear­ly ver­sion had trou­ble with the zip­per.” Nonethe­less, it’s still an amaz­ing inven­tion that will only improve with future real world test­ing. At present, it could save the lives of those well-heeled cyclists who can’t stand to wear clunky, tra­di­tion­al bike hel­mets. In Europe, at least, where the hel­met is cur­rent­ly for sale and safe­ty approved.

The video above was made by direc­tor Fredrik Gert­ton, who has suc­cess­ful­ly Kick­start­ed an advo­ca­cy film he calls Bikes Vs. Cars that seems well worth a look for those con­cerned about the future of urban trans­porta­tion.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Sci­ence Behind the Bike: Four Videos from the Open Uni­ver­si­ty on the Eve of the Tour de France

Brus­sels Express: The Per­ils of Cycling in Europe’s Most Con­gest­ed City

David Byrne: From Talk­ing Heads Front­man to Lead­ing Urban Cyclist

The Physics of the Bike

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

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