Head Protection That's Fashionably Discrete
Sweden- | Sep 13 2012 | (22:47:50 - EDT)
In 2005, two students at Lund University in Sweden, Anna Haupt and Terese Alstin, came up with an idea for a bicycle helmet for adults that was completely invisible, but that would protect you in the event of a crash. Over the past seven years, they researched and developed Hövding, the world’s first bicycle helmet that only self-activates when a crash is imminent.
This remarkable device — the collar around the neck — is an inflatable airbag (which takes just 0.1 seconds to inflate completely) powered by a cold helium inflator that’s one of the smallest on the market. But what’s truly amazing is the sensors, which are accelerometers and gyros, that pick up the abnormal movements of a cyclist in the early stages of an accident. That was the part that took the longest to design and test, and to meet the EU’s strict helmet safety standards.
How do the sensors work? According to the site, 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 tires, 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, they’ve spent the past few years gathering data on the movement patterns of a large number of bicyclists in everyday bicycling situations. They’ve also re-enacted all known types of bicycling accident and recorded the movement patterns of bicyclists in these accidents. They staged fatal bicycling accidents using crash test dummies, while other bicycling accidents were re-enacted by stunt riders, male and female. They 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.
The sensor turns on simply by snapping it closed around your neck, and can be recharged via USB.What a remarkable invention and development by Anna and Terese, and here’s hoping that the price comes down and that everyone can enjoy one of these amazing devices!
Source: Science Blogs and Hovding
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