Creative Concept: The Invisible Bicycle Helmet Blends Science and Human Nature

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Want a creative concept? How about an invisible bicycle helmet? It may sound like something out of a sci-fi movie, but two Swedish graduate students, Terese Alstin and Anna Haupt, have made it happen.

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The idea started with the students' shared love of biking and similar aversion to wearing breeze-blocking, hair-do destroying helmets. It took them seven years to design an “invisible” helmet, the Hövding

The Creative Concept

Much like a car's hidden airbags, the design relies on an inflatable helmet that tucks into a large collar and deploys in an accident. After an accident, the inflated helmet slowly deflates.

The hair-friendly helmet uses gyroscopes and accelerometers to analyze your movements 200 times per second. Analytics distinguish between normal motion and sudden impact. If it all works properly, an enthusiast out for a Saturday ride won't have to worry about accidental deployment on a bumpy street.

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One of the most impressive aspects of this innovation is the use of hard science and technology to address and respond to human nature.

In a video, Alstin and Haupt describe important benefits to the new helmet design. As communities move away from cars and rely more heavily on bicycles in order to decongestant city streets and reduce environmental impact, bicycle accidents are more likely to occur. At the same time, riders are human and sometimes make choices using flawed reasoning–rejecting lifesaving gear because it feels clunky and messes up a nice hairstyle.

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Alstin and Haupt took this understanding of social trends and human nature and then addressed it with hard science and technology. Over a seven year development process, they consulted with head trauma specialists and studied every fine detail of bike accidents. They analyzed impact and movement patterns during staged accidents and compared them to impact and movement patterns of regular biking. In the end, they introduced a breakthrough (killer innovation) that some are calling revolutionary.

How else might we use science and technology to address social trends and human nature?  For me personally, asking the right questions has been the tool I use.  If you want to learn why and how this works, download this PDF.


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