We first covered the Hövding airbag collar in 2010 when it was originally shown off to the world by its inventors, industrial designers Anna Haupt and Terese Alstin. At the time it was available to pre-order but it has now officially gone on sale.
The Hövding is an airbag for cyclists, bringing the now-standard technology found in cars to those who prefer to travel on two, rather than four, wheels. Worn like a collar, it remains deflated until you're involved in an accident, at which time it will inflate in under 0.1 seconds to protect your head.
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It works by inflating with helium when it detects the abnormal movement that is associated with cycling accidents. A black box recorder is also embedded within the airbag collar to record the 10 seconds of data captured just prior to, and during, an accident.
Each Hövding airbag collar costs €399 (US$540), meaning it's a pricey alternative to more conventional helmets. That price gets you the combination of the collar and a shell; the latter being designed to mask the collar in a fashionable outer layer. Extra shells are available for €59 ($80) apiece for those who want to customize the look of their Hövding to match their outfit.
The video below shows how the Hövding works, as well as brief examples of the rigorous safety testing that has been done to ensure this isn't a case of style over substance. This testing has, in fact, shown the Hövding to be better than conventional helmets when it comes to direct impact forces.
Source: Hövding Shop