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Words by Velosport

on 15/02/2020 16:11:22

Airbag for urban cyclists


The worlds safest bicycle helmet is not a helmet

The world’s safest head protection is worn like a collar around the neck. In the event of an accident the airbag inflates to protect your head. The next generation in Swedish safety technology is here.

Hövding 3 offers the following:

Adjustable size, now with innovative BOA system for optimum fit.
Bluetooth connection and Hövding app for enhanced user experience.

Automatically notify selected contacts in the event of an accident
See the effect of personal and collective biking
Get a notification when Hövding needs to be charged
Contribute to help create cities adapted to cyclists

Hövding’s airbag technology provides up to eight times better protection against head injuries than traditional helmets.
Help secure the neck in the event of an accident.
Increased battery life means you can cycle further. One full charge lasts up to 15 hours of active cycling.
New activation tab makes Hövding 3 easier to switch on and off than its predecessor.

The airbag technology

Hövding registers the cyclist’s movements 200 times/sec. In the event of an accident the airbag inside the collar inflates in 0.1 sec. This will efficiently fixate the neck and protect the head from injury.

The airbag is designed like a hood and made in an ultra-strong nylon fabric that won’t rip when scraped against the ground. Hövding protects nearly all of the head, while leaving the field of vision open. The inflated airbag covers a much larger area than a traditional cycle helmet and is designed according to current accident statistics.

The airbag fixates the neck and provides extremely soft and gentle shock absorption. The pressure remains constant for several seconds, making it able to withstand multiple head impacts during the same accident. After that the airbag slowly starts to deflate.

Tests show that the protection is greatest where it is needed most.

Concussion is one of the major causes of brain injury. In 2016, a scientific research of Hövding’s airbag technology were conducted and the testresults showed that Hövding’s unique design – an airbag that in the ever of an accident expands to become both thicker and softer than a traditional helmet – reduces the risk of concussion up to eight times and almost completely eliminates the risk of skull fracture.


Sensors and algorithm

Thousands of tests were done, reenacting cycling accidents using stunt riders and crash-test dummies, to collect the specific movement patterns of cyclists in accidents. In parallel, an equal amount of normal cycling data has been collected using test cyclists wearing Hövding in everyday cycling. Based on this collected data, Hövding have developed an algorithm that can distinguish normal cycling from accidents.

When activated, Hövding records the cyclist’s movements 200 times a second. In the event of an accident, the cyclist’s abnormal movement is detected and the airbag inflates.

The battery

Hövding’s battery is easily charged through a USB charger using the cable included.

A fully charged battery lasts for approximately 15 hours of active cycling.

LEDs at the front and back of the collar show the battery level, and a low battery level is indicated by both light and sound.

Collar and cover

The collar is made of waterproof, functional fabric that provides the best possible protection for the built-in airbag system. The collar isn’t washable but 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 collar is ergonomically designed with even weight distribution across the shoulders. It is slightly heavier at the back than at the front so that when cycling the weight is resting on your back.

The enclosing cover also makes it possible for you to change the appearance of your Hövding. The cover is easy to remove and wash, or change for a different one to match your mood or personality.

CE marking

The Hövding airbag helmet is CE marked after undergoing an extensive process for approval by Technical Research Institute of Sweden*.

CE marking is required for a cycle helmet to be able to be sold in Europe and certifies that the helmet complies with the requirements laid down in the EU Directive for personal protective equipment. All types of helmets must provide protection for the head in the form of shock absorption and force distribution in an accident. Complete protection in the event of an accident and functioning during normal use are basic criteria for CE marking.

The helmet must also be designed so as to cause no unnecessary risks, meaning there must be no sharp edges et cetera which could injure the wearer. The environmental tolerance criteria for helmets dictate that they must be able to withstand moisture and work in heat and cold, and also when subjected to the sun’s ultraviolet light.

*present RISE, Research Institutes of Sweden