Researchers at Stanford University have studied the world’s first airbag for cyclists from the Swedish company Hövding, and found that the thickness and stiffness of the Hövding helmet is “near perfect” in terms of protecting against concussion and head injuries caused by accidents.
They conclude that there is an eight-fold reduction in the risk of concussion with the Hövding airbag compared to traditional helmets.
“The Hövding airbag is designed in accordance with requirements, materials and methods from the automotive industry, which provides world class protection for your head,” says Hövding CEO Fredrik Carling.
“Now that a prestigious research institution like Stanford University has published a report demonstrating that the level of protection provided by Hövding far exceeds that of traditional bicycle helmets, it gives us and our customers more confidence and provides further confirmation of Hövding’s superior protection.”
The research at Stanford University was conducted over the past year and the results are being published in the renowned scientific journal Annals of Biomedical Engineering.
David Camarillo, who headed the research team behind the results, also held a lecture at the end of April at the conference TEDxStanford in the USA. The lecture was about “Building a smart helmet” and the Hövding Airbag for Urban Cyclists was showcased as an example.
The researcher David Camarillo played American football for ten years and has also sustained two concussions from bicycle accidents. The research he now leads aims to create an understanding of how to prevent and protect against concussion and head injuries. The studies have focused on bicycle helmets and have demonstrated that many bicycle helmets provide limited protection in terms of reducing the risk of head injuries. In their studies, they looked at both traditional bicycle helmets and airbag helmets.
The ultimate goal of the research is to learn about the optimum design of concussion-proof helmets. One result obtained from the study they present is that the material and design of the Hövding airbag provides outstanding protection, thus preventing concussion and head injuries. Their tests show that the Hövding airbag provides up to eight times better protection against concussion compared to traditional helmets.
Hövding started out in 2005 as a master’s thesis by the two founders Anna Haupt and Terese Alstin, who, at the time, were studying Industrial Design at the University of Lund.
The idea of developing a new type of cycle helmet was a response to the introduction of a law on mandatory helmet use for children up to the age of 15 in Sweden, which triggered a debate on whether cycle helmets should be mandatory for adults too.
Anna and Terese saw their master’s thesis as an opportunity to find out whether it would be possible to develop a cycle helmet that people would be happy to wear – whether they had to or not.
The project resulted in the concept of an airbag helmet, which won Innovationsbron’s Ideas Grant. This kick-started the process of developing Hövding into a real product. In 2006 Hövding won the Venture Cup, after which Hövding Sweden AB was founded.