Anna Haupt and Terese Alstin have introduced a product that will revolutionize the cycling industry. They call it the “invisible helmet.” The helmet is, in fact, not a helmet, at all, but a collar that falls at the shoulders and acts as a protective airbag barrier should a cyclist have a collision. Hӧvding is the company’s name, and for the two women who’ve created it, the world should be thankful.
Hӧvding began as the collaborative thesis of two female graduate students at the University of Lund who sought to make a difference in the cycling world. They saw the need to create a bicycling helmet that was, at once, attractive and safe. After seven years of research and testing, they came up with an incredibly unique product that may just be safer than any other bicycle helmet on the market. According to Forbes’ article of the invention, the Hӧvding “performed at least three times better than the other [twelve] helmets in a drop/hit test for shock absorption.”
The Hӧvding helmet works through a variety of sensors that get turned on and off by the wearer. When the cyclist falls into a pattern that is abnormal and potentially dangerous, the collar they are wearing will trigger the parachute to open, fill with helium, and surround the head, while leaving a small amount of space for the wearer to view the environment around them. For those without the collar, a cycle lawyer may be necessary, should a collision occur.
This amazing contraption has not come into existence without substantial effort by the two women entrepreneurs at the helm of the initiative. Haupt and Alstin experienced serious friction and numerous setbacks surrounding the development of their device and company. In a recent interview with Amazers.org, Haupt and Alstin referred to finding good investors as one of the hardest parts of the process, but they were (and are) confident that you should “just believe in yourself, because the capacity in every human is really really big.”
The research and expense proved to be extensive, as the device, itself, became costly to create and reproduce. Haupt and Alstin’s team of employees are still working on ways to reduce costs associated with the Hӧvding, the purchase of which would set a consumer back nearly $550.00 in America.
With the Hӧvding invisible helmet at the forefront of modern travel, one can venture to guess that travel as we know it is on the verge of a great shift. The fact that one can safely share the roads with automobiles is not new, but the idea that one can be safe without wearing a helmet is really quite an innovative concept.
How will this invention help consumers and cyclists in the United States? It may just end the seemingly everlasting debates surrounding helmet regulations and mandates. Many argue about whether or not it should be required for all cyclists to have head protection on the road, a topic which, oddly enough, acted as a catalyst for Haupt and Alstin’s thesis in 2005. The Times in England put together a list of pros and cons regarding this hot topic. It would seem, however, that with the advent of the invisible helmet, the list of cons would, invariably, shrink. The only setback is the price tag.
Anna Haupt and Terese Austin set out to make a difference in their world. As two women who were told it was impossible, they have shown the world that with an uphill climb, a modern helmet may just be necessary.