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Pictures via Hövding.

You know what sucks about riding a bike? Except for, you know, all the traffic and all the reckless car drivers, and rain, and sometimes being really tired? Bike helmets. Of course, they do provide the advantage of keeping your brain from getting splattered if you crash, but they’re not really comfortable, and they take a lot out of the overall riding experience – somehow, it’s hard to feel free with a bike helmet.

Now, a pair of Swedish women have come up with a remarkable solution: the invisible helmet. Well, that may be a bit of a misleading name, but I’m gonna let this video explain it for you.

The Invisible Bicycle Helmet | Fredrik Gertten from Focus Forward Films on Vimeo.

Now that you’ve get how it works, you should understand that the individual pieces of technology are not innovative – nothing is especially new, just the way in which they’re blended in together makes the novelty.

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Pictures via Hövding.

Hövding is the result of an intensive research and development process that started in 2005. The unique airbag was developed in collaboration with airbag manufacturer Alva Sweden and extensive testing has been carried out to ensure the airbag provides the protection required, so everything seems perfectly all right in the safety department. Personally, I think this is a great idea that has a lot of potential in promoting this especially healthy, pleasant, and useful (from a traffic point of view) way of transportation – but I do see some problems.

First of all, I would presume it relies on some type of battery, and I didn’t see any type of battery life discussion. It probably has a very long battery life, but it is an issue that should be discussed – it should also be renewed, so it adds an extra cost to the product.

Also, what do you do after it’s popped once? Can you just manually stuff it back in ? That doesn’t seem too likely, thought if that’s feasible, it’s simply wonderful.

But the main problem I see is psychological – this perpetuates the idea that bike helmets are uncool. The proposed alternative is a $500 airbag for your head, which prompts me to believe that it’s only going to be a small portion of bike riders using it, while the others will indirectly get the message that traditional helmets are “uncool” – I think this is a dangerous, double edged sword.

But when all is said and done, a very good initiative that has the chance to save lives and, more likely, improve the lives of a few high end users.

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