Friday, 22 October 2010

The airbag for cyclists: New inflatable collar protects riders who refuse to wear a helmet


The head airbag takes only 0.1 seconds to inflate, completely covering the bicycle riders head and neck

It is the perfect invention for those of us too vain to bother wearing a helmet while riding our bikes.

The 'Hvvding' helmet is an airbag 'collar' that springs into action within 0.1 seconds, covering the skull and neck of a rider in the event of an impact.

Roughly translated into English as the 'Chieftain' - the Hvvding was designed over six years by two Swedish industrial design students.

Designer Anna Haupt said the company hoped the airbag would hit the shops across Northern Europe and the UK in the spring next year.

It will first cost around £260 but Ms Haupt believes a lot of people have been crying out for an alternative to the helmet.

The team developed a system using a collar containing a folded airbag which is only inflates when sensors inside detect a sudden jolt.

A small helium gas cylinder inflates the collar in just 0.1 seconds and it remains inflated for several seconds after impact. The device has been 'tuned' by recreating hundreds of accidents using crash test dummies and real riders.

She said: 'The airbag is designed as a hood that surrounds and protects the rider's head.

The collar can be covered in different fabrics and designs so it can be worn with your normal clothes, the designers claim

'The release mechanism is controlled by sensors that detects the abnormal motion of the cyclist in an accident.'

The inventors say that the colour of the collar can even be changed to match whatever outfit the cyclist is wearing. The hood itself is made from a durable nylon fabric that can withstand the scraping against the road.

She said: 'Both myself and my colleagues are very keen cyclists, but in Sweden a law was brought in that all people must wear helmets.

'A lot of people don't like a bicycle helmet because of the way it looks and what it does to your hairstyle once you have taken it off.

'So despite the law many people carried on not wanting to wear cycle helmets, and this is the same not just in Sweden but in places like the UK too.

The airbag is made of durable nylon fabric that can withstand scraping against the road, the firm claims

'We wanted to make something to keep people safe and at the same time answer these questions for people, keeping them safe but looking good.

'We asked hundreds of cyclists what they wanted from a helmet or a device which could keep them safe.'

The team carried out hundreds of tests using records of cycling collisions across Sweden to form a picture of how the rider moves when they are hit.

The hood is designed so that it inflates within 0.1 seconds so that the airbag is fully inflated before the cyclist can hit their head.

The team tested all typical movements carried out by cyclists when riding in the city or on roads. Even sudden braking and evasive action did not cause the airbag to inflate, they claim.

She said: 'We have also staged all known types of bicycle accidents, and collected the cyclists' movement patterns in these accidents.

The used crash test dummies to see how a person's body reacts during a fatal accident and collected all of the movements in a database.

They then used their own mathematical formula to work out which movements should be key in triggering the device.

A spokesman for RoSPA said: 'It’s good to see innovation, but we would need a lot of evidence about the practicalities and effectiveness of this device.

'For example: given how expensive it is, is it better than a helmet; would it work in all the relevant circumstances; and are there any situations in which it may actually cause injury?'

source: dailymail

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