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Noted: The Invisible Bicycle Helmet

Aug 28, 2012

by Chappell Ellison

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

In Amsterdam, the bike is king. The Dutch capital city claims that 55% of commuters whose job is less than 7.5 kilometers away choose to cycle to work. Unfortunately, the vast majority of Dutch cyclists leave the house without a helmet. These statistics aren’t any better around other parts of northern Europe, where bicycles are a popular method of transportation. In response, two Swedish women named Terese Alstin and Anna Haupt spent seven years creating the Hövding, a helmet that essentially mimics the functionality of a car air bag. If you’ve already seen their powerful video, it seems almost too simple to be believed, but the final reveal of the helmet’s functionality is astonishing.

So the Hövding isn’t exactly invisible, but what’s great about Altin and Haupt’s design is that it addresses human vanity. “Few casual cyclists in Europe wear helmets and I was jealous of how chic they looked with their hair flying free,” wrote Dana Liebelson in her report on the helmet. “So I, too, ditched my headgear. The first and only time I got hit by a car on my bike, I wasn’t wearing a helmet.”

The helmet isn’t without issues. It’s currently sold for $600, which is completely beyond the average person’s budget. There’s also the question of trust — would you feel safe and comfortable riding the streets with an invisible helmet? But with so much interest and $10 million in start-up capital, these issues could become moot. Cycling hasn’t changed much over the past 100 years, but this could be revolutionary.

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120 comments

  • maggiesraggedyinn

    Mary Robertson from MaggiesInn said 4 years ago

    All I can say about this is wow... so interesting and what an idea.

  • slatevintager

    Nikki from slatevintager said 4 years ago

    hope the price will lowered soon.

  • redgarage

    redgarage from RedGarage said 4 years ago

    Great idea, sooooo many uses for that technology.

  • croccoon

    Lauren Lezeu from Croccoon said 4 years ago

    Wow. That is just awesome.

  • tomsgrossmami

    Tom's Grossmami from tomsgrossmami said 4 years ago

    wow, that's interesting!

  • PKDalton

    Patricia Dalton said 4 years ago

    I would want it to cover my face more, It appears to come down infront of a person's face but a lot is still out there to get hurt and I would think many falls would put a person's face straight down face first? Good luck to the inventors and their company I hope it is a huge success and the price comes way down for I hate to wear a helmet too.

  • WeddingLab

    SSW from WeddingLab said 4 years ago

    wow, that is amazing, thanks for sharing!

  • CuteLittleCrafts

    Karla from CuteLittleCrafts said 4 years ago

    Wow, that is so cool!

  • Xenotees

    Xenotees from Xenotees said 4 years ago

    So clever!

  • VintageEye

    VintageEye from VintageEye said 4 years ago

    Amazing!

  • mattyhandmadecrafts

    Matejka Max from NattyMatty said 4 years ago

    Great!

  • KathyGDesigns

    Kathy G from KathyGDesigns said 4 years ago

    What an amazing invention! Not only will this change biking but other sports as well. I wish you both much success!

  • MegansMenagerie

    Megan from MegansMenagerie said 4 years ago

    Such a great idea!!!

  • jacklom3

    Sara from jacklom3 said 4 years ago

    WOW!

  • TheBakersDaughter

    Nancy Andrews from TheBakersDaughter said 4 years ago

    This. is. awesome.

  • LittleWrenPottery

    Victoria Baker from LittleWrenPottery said 4 years ago

    There has been a lot of talk in the UK about making cycle helmets compulsory, the statistics say that it doesn't always make a difference depending on the type of accident that your in but I always think its best to err on the side of caution.

  • 3princessesengraving

    Tyson and Rachael from 3PrincessesStore said 4 years ago

    Wow that is amazing!

  • SoftJewelry

    Eleanore from SoftJewelry said 4 years ago

    I'm speechless and so proud of them! My son is riding a bike around Madison WI...Would I buy him one of these? In a heartbeat.

  • spunkyrooster

    Amanda from doodledewdesigns said 4 years ago

    How interesting! I'm always for new ways that preserve my vanity! :)

  • Auntiesoapworts

    Auntiesoapworts from BrackenfernCottage said 4 years ago

    BRAVO! YAY! Girls Congratulations! Now design one for a motorcycle. What an incredible story. So inspiring! I wish every school girl could watch this and be inspired.

  • Ramonasshop

    Angela from Ramonasshop said 4 years ago

    This is a great start Good for them!!!! I am loving this idea it's so innovative I love to see people trying to improve on old ideas.

  • recycledwares

    Nerrissa W from RecycledWares said 4 years ago

    This is amazing! I hope the price will become reasonable enough for the average family to afford.

  • StringBeardCraftery

    Stephanie from StringBeardCraftery said 4 years ago

    Cool idea!

  • bohemiansway

    Maria Holt from bohemiansway said 4 years ago

    The great minds of women at work ~ BRAVO!

  • Iammie

    iammie from iammie said 4 years ago

    Cool idea!

  • jgaido

    Josie from JosiesBoutique said 4 years ago

    Very cool :-)

  • chelseabutler965

    Chelsea Butler said 4 years ago

    All I can say is.. AWESOME! I love this idea.

  • SweetElisabeth

    Elisabeth Miranda from SweetElisabeth said 4 years ago

    Very, very cool!

  • RetroRevivalBoutique

    RetroRevivalBoutique from RetroRevivalBoutique said 4 years ago

    *claps hands* Bravo for innovation! :)

  • volkerwandering

    Jess from volkerwandering said 4 years ago

    I love that they made something out of their great idea. I would proably wear one if I rode a bike a lot, and if the price came down!

  • 2TrickPony

    Rachel from 2TrickPony said 4 years ago

    Neat - O !

  • purposedesign

    Julie Pedersen from purposedesign said 4 years ago

    Wow. Genius. Think of all the contact/high risk sports it could be applied to also- skiing and snowboarding being just a few.

  • SpareBedroomStudio
  • theheirloomaddict

    theheirloomaddict from TheHeirloomAddict said 4 years ago

    FELICITATIONS!

  • siennaorlando

    Sienna Orlando from SiennaOrlando said 4 years ago

    This is brilliant, and I love that these women persevered for SEVEN years before being able to actualize their idea. They knew it was a great idea and stuck with it. Good for them!

  • reflectionsjewelry

    Emily Delfin from reflectionsjewelry said 4 years ago

    All I can say is "WOW"! Next: where can I buy one???

  • KMalinka

    Natalia from KMalinkaVintage said 4 years ago

    Great idea!

  • PopOColor

    Katie Corrigan from PopOColor said 4 years ago

    Great to see stories about female engineers. There weren't very many when I was studying engineer.

  • christierucker

    Christie Rucker from HopesArtfrommyheart said 4 years ago

    Amazing!!! They are brillant!!

  • TreadleLady

    Donna Kohler from TreadleLady said 4 years ago

    Great story, it's always inspiring to hear about successful inventions and that it is two women who persisted for seven years. Anyone catch the comment about a rooster? I hope they don't listen to that. Much success to them.

  • theroyal

    The Royal from theroyal said 4 years ago

    well i do not think vanity is a good excuse not to wear a helmet. but i support the focus on cyclist safety. i think that it addresses safety for the individual that will not put on a traditional bike helmet. but also i think that it might possibly be addressing the need for more protection from cars. a traditional helmet seems to not address neck injury, just head. it looks to be a superior innovation.

  • KarenBowers

    KarenBowers said 4 years ago

    I'd heard of these but this was my first time seeing the video. FYI, these women and the company are Swedish, not Dutch.

  • CandleLitCrafts

    Sarah from CandleLitCrafts said 4 years ago

    This is incredible. It is such a good idea. I hope they do well with this, they deserve it. Brilliant!

  • rousselures

    Raymonde Gagnier said 4 years ago

    Wow!!!

  • LizzyClara

    Dale Coykendall from LizzyClara said 4 years ago

    I find this amazing... saw it elsewhere last week so cool !

  • MissLivia

    Olivia Marie from galaxygarments said 4 years ago

    I'm for anything that gets people to protect their head from injuries during cycling! Safety always trumps fashion in my book, though rocking the whole cycling kit can be fashionable in it's own way :) This invisible helmut is and interesting idea, however, they have already had to recall the helmet (http://www.sydsvenskan.se/ekonomi/hovding-aterkallar-cykelhjalmar/) !

  • IADECOR

    Charles from IADECOR said 4 years ago

    Wow! really we are all saying wow and that is just about all you can say. That is amazing.

  • AscendedEarth

    AscendedEarth from AscendedEarth said 4 years ago

    I am an avid cyclist who recently had a serious accident where I collided with a groundhog at 18 mph (yes! he ran in front of my tire). I broke 2 ribs, my scapula, and collarbone, cracked my helmet, and had a slight concussion. I have the highest praise for these new inventors, and wish them the best! This helmet could revolutionize the sport.

  • FreakyPeas

    FreakyPeas from FreakyPeas said 4 years ago

    Three cheers for inventors!

  • 711laurakay

    Laura Kay from diarysketches said 4 years ago

    wow!! go girls!!

  • anotherghostquilts

    Nancy from anotherghostquilts said 4 years ago

    Keep inventing, ladies! Awesome!

  • LivingVintage

    LivingVintage from LivingVintage said 4 years ago

    Interesting! Congrats on your invention.

  • winnieryan

    Winnie Ryan said 4 years ago

    Love the whole change on the helmet to a personal head airbag! Here's why - helmets can and do inhibit your field of view when biking. That's as much why a number of us (yup, me too) choose not to use one. Secondly, the Euro style ones that are more attractive and allow better vision, we're told in the US aren't protective enough (don't cover the lower portion of the skull) which this one does. Finally I suspect that some of the over heating issues I may have had (and potentially fit issues which could be explored) may be eliminated. Considering the price of a bicycle these days (new ones ain't cheap), the helmet price isn't that high, but yes, decreasing it would be great. That would allow better competition with current helmet models running under $50.

  • furniply

    Ingus Jākobsons from Furniply said 4 years ago

    Great invention... sorry, but not even half safe as real helmet! It detonates after hit, but if hit will be directly to head... THE END!

  • VeloNoir

    Christine Rimorin from VeloNoir said 4 years ago

    Best of luck to these two female inventors! I do hope that their invisible bicycle helmet will eventually be almost invincible. Having rediscovered cycling just recently, I chose a helmet that looked good and provided adequate protection (Nutcase makes wonderful bike helmets). I am a casual cyclist and though it was tempting to bike around town without a helmet (as if I were in Paris, London, Amsterdam), safety won.

  • bedouin

    Nicole from bedouin said 4 years ago

    Fantastic !! Everything starts with an idea. I'll be keeping my eye on this one!!

  • MissLucyA

    Lucy Ashby from bylucy said 4 years ago

    Wow, fasinating film!

  • sarahknight

    Sarah from sarahknight said 4 years ago

    That's a lot of effort and money to avoid mussing up one's hair or getting the dreaded helmet-head. My state-mandated car insurance just went up because here in Michigan motorcyclists seem to think that riding without a helmet is an awesome idea on our 70mph freeways. Their head injuries are a giant drain on no-fault insurance. It's complete idiocy. Head injuries are real, and helmets were designed to protect against them. So, I'd skip the non-face-protecting head air bag and just go straight for the helmet. Because when you crash and burn and scrape half your nose off on the pavement, no one is going to be noticing how meticulously you styled your hair.

  • BambuEarth

    Amber from BambuEarth said 4 years ago

    ♥ This is the future in safety and comfort. I love their ingenuity.

  • ThePlayfulNeedle

    ThePlayfulNeedle from ThePlayfulNeedle said 4 years ago

    I have a friend who is alive today because she was wearing a helmet when in a very bad collision on her bike, and I hate to think that people would risk severe brain injuries or death just to keep their hair looking nice! With any luck, this will save some lives.

  • LaMeowVintage

    Regan from LaMeowVintage said 4 years ago

    It is a clever idea but I am not sure if a big puffy thing around my neck would be any more comfortable and I would be afraid it would not open. I also think electric cars and advanced high tech public transit systems are the future not bikes.

  • silviaberrios1

    Silvia Berrios from DesignsbySilvia said 4 years ago

    Love it! love it! what a great invention. Bravo girls!! I need one of your helmets. I recently started biking (eco-friendly) in my hometown, to run errands ($=save gas/), and also for exercise ($=save - no medical bills-).

  • admirerofdreams

    admirerofdreams from admirerofdreams said 4 years ago

    We've already taught our daughter that to not wear a helmet because of hairstyling is completely ridiculous . . . Brain damage or death is permanent, a hairstyle can be fixed. We lead by example by ALWAYS wearing a helmet too. This is such a wonderful invention, and should save many lives as the price comes down. So many people don't realize that helmets should be treated with care in order to ensure they work properly in an accident; this eliminates user error in that regard, and that is great. Blessings to this duo and their company!!

  • AkimaBotanicals

    Akima Morgan from AkimaBotanicals said 4 years ago

    Smart, smart gals!

  • smokingfawn

    smokingfawn said 4 years ago

    It might seem shocking to ride helmet-less if you live in a city that doesn't have the infrastructure nor culture for bike riding, like the large Canadian city I live in. But one Scandanavian explained their thought process in a way I will never forget: if you feel unsafe biking without a helmet, then there is something unsafe about your biking. I bet the number of cycling casualties in Amsterdam is very low compared to North American cities. The way to make cyclists safer is not to make helmets mandatory. That would only discourage people from cycling. Instead, we should build safer roads and educate cyclists and drivers alike.

  • HoneyThistle

    Wei from HoneyThistle said 4 years ago

    I am so excited for this! I hate wearing a bike helmet & will definitely buy this if they get the price down to a reasonable level.

  • PattiTrostle

    Patti Trostle from PattiTrostle said 4 years ago

    Great idea!!

  • thornstone

    E. L. from ELshop said 4 years ago

    So excited to hear about innovators who are women!

  • tamilopez

    Tami Lopez from TamiLopezDesigns said 4 years ago

    My sister is a neuro trauma nurse and sees a lot of bike, skate, skateboard related patients--always they were not wearing a helmet. This is wonderful! So interesting! Glad to see the technology improving, it affects real people! Great feature! And if you know a biker/skater/boarder make sure they wear a helmet!

  • thevicagirl

    VaLon Frandsen from thevicagirl said 4 years ago

    Wow, just wow. I know that whenever I bike I don't wear a helmet, too big bulky unfashionable kidlike tons of stuff I don't want. I love it, and want one. Even considering the $600...

  • maijas

    Miya from maijas said 4 years ago

    Ah hipsters. You know what I like more than my hair? In-tact brains.

  • byjodi

    byjodi from byjodi said 4 years ago

    LOVE! Thank you so much for posting this!

  • wassupbrothers

    Olga Wassupbrothers from wassupbrothers said 4 years ago

    Amazing product! It is pleasure to see something innovative about saving people life, not about new design of bag or high heel shoes) All the best wishes and many sales!

  • JaniceCordeiro

    Janice Cordeiro from WoolSculptures said 4 years ago

    I wonder how comfortable it is in a hot, humid environment. When the temperature is hovering around 100, like so much of the USA. It seems more people bicycle in the summer and this nation hit record highs with the same expectation for future years. Also wonder if it impedes head mobility and thereby vision. Seems to be bulky around the neck. Hope it takes off though. Seems people are more concerned with looks then head injuries. Lots of luck.

  • tammybetson

    Tammy Betson from TandMArtsandCrafts said 4 years ago

    Wow, keep it up girls, this is a fantastic idea.

  • DewyMorningVintage

    DewyMorningVintage from DewyMorningVintage said 4 years ago

    I love to see new products that think out of the box! Great helmet! Good luck to you!

  • bosquecarpentry

    Gabriel Montes from bosquecarpentry said 4 years ago

    This is so interesting. I cycle. Recently, I was in car accident, a head-on-collision, but the air bags did not go off. It seems that air bags have the issue of too sensitive, or not sensitive enough. I would hate for this thing to go off and hang me up in a tree.

  • uswatsons

    Sylvie Liv from SylvieLiv said 4 years ago

    I am so impressed! Wow, those women are brilliant!

  • iamassault

    Tim Easley from timeasley said 4 years ago

    These are good but I have two main issues, beside the astronomical price. Firstly, a helmet that doubles as a scarf might be nice in cold northern European countries, but I could see myself sweating to death even in London. Secondly, I just couldn't put my trust in something that needs to be recharged. I'd much rather have something solid that's already in the right place on my head to protect me, rather than hope I remembered to plug the thing in.

  • HulaGirl1922

    Margarita from HulaGirl1922 said 4 years ago

    interesting evolution of cycle-portation ♥ we'll see where it goes... thx for posting this :)

  • HulaGirl1922

    Margarita from HulaGirl1922 said 4 years ago

  • Rebelhooks

    Tera RebelHooks from RebelHooks said 4 years ago

    Wow, that's a great idea!!! Sort of a head airbag :)!!! Cool idea!!!

  • 5gardenias

    kathi roussel from 5gardenias said 4 years ago

    -- what a fabulous design! very exciting alternative for those who can't stand wearing traditional helmets. I hope the invisible helmets are a success!

  • WintergreenDesign

    Christa Cunningham from WintergreenDesign said 4 years ago

    So inventive and such a cool design!

  • urbanheirlooms

    Dana Osborne-Biggs from UrbanHeirlooms said 4 years ago

    Speechless!

  • mluehman

    Madison Luehman said 4 years ago

    I am stunned. Amazing. Genius. An air bag for your head. Well done for the many many years of research and perseverance, what a revolutionary final product.

  • slacey152

    Stacy from HappiestCrafts said 4 years ago

    I love it! Hope it comes down in to my budget sooner than later :)

  • BambooBlossomBags

    Natasha Venzke from BambooBlossomCraft said 4 years ago

    It's a good idea, but I've heard about cyclists' heads being run over my a car or even truck and I don't know if air bags would protect you against that.

  • thenakedbird

    Brooke Griffin from GideonAndBrisby said 4 years ago

    this is incredible and probably works better than a conventional helmet. how does it know when to inflate though? is there a motion sensor?

  • apollinerei

    Jess Wilson from thepolymertwist said 4 years ago

    This is totally awesome, haha.

  • metalicious

    Stephanie Maslow Blackman from metalicious said 4 years ago

    I just had to pick my jaw up off the floor. Brilliant!

  • TheBeadedCanine

    K Jones from TheBeadedCanine said 4 years ago

    This not only addresses the style problem of helmets, but I like that it also seems to act as a sort of neck brace for impact, perhaps closer to a motorcycle helmet. I wonder if such a thing can be developed for equestrians. Especially the western sports where they don't typically wear helmets.

  • leeannasjewerybox

    Leeanna from LeeannasJewelryBox said 4 years ago

    I shared this on facebook right away. If it can keep any of my loved ones safe I want everyone to have one.

  • VillaCollezione

    Villa Collezione from VillaCollezione said 4 years ago

    brilliant!

  • TGagneCeramics

    Teresa Gagne said 4 years ago

    I didn't see a credit for the music. Is it Deva Premel and Miten? Remember the artists.

  • JurgitaMi

    Jurgita from JumiFelt said 4 years ago

    I love this idea.

  • MademoiselleG

    Geneviève Marquis from MademoiselleG said 4 years ago

    Wow that's a great idea! Hope we will get able to buy it cheaper soon .

  • warmnature

    warmnature from WarmNature said 4 years ago

    There is a reason major motorsports have not picked up on this so called safe idea - as an avid morotcyclist I would not even consider this for myself or a loved one on a bicycle or motorcycle.

  • FawningInLove

    Fawning Inlove from FawningInLove said 4 years ago

    amazing!

  • SameheartDesigns

    Nadia Sameheart from SameheartDesigns said 4 years ago

    Holy Moly! That is brilliant! I have never owned a car and probably never will. The girls are right, Bikes are the future. Having just done a 650 km bike tour, this kind of talk is right up my alley. Bravo to these women!

  • CestSuperbe

    C'est Superbe from CestSuperbe said 4 years ago

    "There’s also the question of trust — would you feel safe and comfortable riding the streets with an invisible helmet?" Being Dutch, I would say there's nothing unsafe about riding a bike without a helmet. You have to know the rules and have respect for your fellow road users and then there's nothing to be worried about. (and you obviously need brakes; nothing of that new, "cool" stuff...) In Holland each kid has to pass a 'bike' exam in elementary school so all kids know what the rules are and how to behave on the road. In my opinion there's nothing 'unfortunate' about Dutch cyclist not wearing helmets. I think it's a plus. (By the way, racing cyclist do wear helmets.)

  • flamingfuchsia

    flamingfuchsia from flamingfuchsia said 4 years ago

    Clever. Very clever ladies. I like your thinking. One of the earlier reviewers mentioned not enough coverage to the face, most helmets do not offer that but the thing about this one is it offers more to the back of the head unlike conventional helmuts. Both have that bit on the forehead that sticks out a bit so that should help with less of an impact to the face. My only concern is the price of it.

  • fancybread

    Fancy Bread said 4 years ago

    Wow. A revolutionary idea. I'd totally buy one ....if i had a spare $600.....and a bicycle!

  • BunnysLuck

    Mary Anne from BunnysLuck said 4 years ago

    It shouldn't go unnoticed that both the invisible bicycle helmet and the soccer ball that generates energy were invented by women who are committed to both an idea and the well-being of the community.

  • IkvothaMashiach70

    Gabrielle Knight from RuffleNBustle said 4 years ago

    This is amazing and truly innnovative!

  • amberthreads

    Amber Threads from amberthreads said 4 years ago

    Revolutionary invention! Will change the world of biking!

  • softGOLD

    Dianna Gendron from SOFTGOLDSTUDIO said 4 years ago

    Exceptional.

  • hexcia

    silvia borgers from hexcia said 4 years ago

    Being dutch and not wearing a helmet and having two kids who never did too i would like to say that in the netherlands the number of accidents are still lowering since the 70's... (if looked it up in the statistics )and i also would like to point out that car traffic and bikers are two different streams in our city's . because there are bikers-lane's almost everywhere! And if you follow the rules like some other dutchie pointed out you're very save on our roads.... I myself really do not know anyone who had a serious injury in the last few years bisides the dummy's who tried to drive there bicicle trough the snow... but that made us laugh :0 and there where still no injury's

  • StandardVintage
  • nicolaclare7

    Nicola Rowlands from MsSpanner said 4 years ago

    wow!

  • AnnaFashionDesigner

    Anna FashionDesigner from AreliSinclairFashion said 4 years ago

    I love this!!! Great story and product.

  • PaperPlums

    PaperPlums from PaperPlums said 4 years ago

    This is an amazing, in the downtown core of Vancouver many of my friends cycle most are smart enough to wear a helmet but there are some that chose not to.What is so interesting about the design is that it looks like a scarf, you can be more fashionable but keep some sort of safety in line. The price I would think is the hold back, if they could get the price down then I'm sure that nearly every cyclist would consider getting one.

  • misschristiana

    Christiana Odum from YarnDarlin said 4 years ago

    I WANT ONE!!!! That's AMAZING!!!

  • IntheMoodforVintage

    Michele from IntheMoodforVintage said 4 years ago

    Thank goodness for individual creativity. This is a perfect example why traditional schooling does not work. We should never teach students to think alike. We should encourage them to pursue those little nagging ideas that keep popping into their heads. I LOVED this feature!! Congratulations ladies!!

  • murmuration

    Minkie from murmuration said 4 years ago

    That is so rad!

  • andiespecialtysweets

    Jason and Andie from andiespecialtysweets said 4 years ago

    Great invention!

  • inDpendant

    Irit Schneor from inDpendant said 4 years ago

    Beautiful - this is what design is all about!

  • shalomdan
  • karavakishop

    Adriana from Karavakishop said 3 years ago

    Amazing!!!!!!!

  • TidbitFactory

    Tahti G from TidbitFactory said 3 years ago

    All I can say is that this is brilliant and good luck to the creators! I hope you guys save a lot of lives with this.

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