HӦVDING: Airbag for cyclists

Innovation created by: Anna Haupt and Terese Alstin, CEO and CFO of Hövding

Presentation written by: Mohamed Salah OUAJI, Mohamed.s.ouaji@gmail.com

Presentation supervised by: Assoc. Prof. Dr. Elena M. BARBU, Elena.barbu@univ-grenoble-alpes.fr



1. How it all started

The idea of a new bicycle helmet was born in Sweden in 2005, when a new law made the use of bicycle helmets mandatory for children up to the age of 15 years old. This triggered a debate on whether bicycle helmets should also be made mandatory for adults. Two students of Industrial Design, Anna Haupt and Terese Alstin, decided to find out if it was possible to develop a bicycle helmet that people would actually be happy to wear – whether they had to or not. Their Master’s Thesis resulted in the concept of an airbag helmet. Right from the beginning the airbag helmet gained a lot of attention for its innovative design.

2. Context of the innovation

Developing a helmet that everyone would be happy to wear had an unexpected but welcome side effect: Hövding’s unique airbag system turned out to offer cyclists superior protection against head injuries. Most of what the team has accomplished are things other people claimed were impossible: ‘It’s impossible to design an airbag that way’. ‘It’s impossible to understand the movements of a cyclist and detect accidents’. ‘It’s impossible to get an airbag helmet approved and certified’. But by constantly doing the impossible, the team has acquired a unique expertise in airbag helmet technology, which has resulted in several global patents.

3. How the head airbag works

Hövding is essentially composed of 5 elements:

Figure1: Hövding 1.0 components

Source: https://hovding.com/how-hovding-works/

  • Airbag system:

In the event of an accident, the patented airbag inflates in 0, 1 seconds to form a hood that fixates your neck and provides 3 times better shock absorption than a traditional bicycle helmet.

  • Sensors and Algorithm:

When activated, Hövding records the cyclist’s movements 200 times a second. In the event of an accident, the cyclist’s abnormal movement is detected and the airbag inflates.

  • Activation:

Hövding is activated using a button on the zip pull. A sound and a light indicate that Hövding is activated.

  • Collar and cover:

The collar is made of waterproof, functional fabric to provide the best possible protection for the built-in airbag system. Different covers are available in our online shop.

  • Charging:

When sound and light indicate a low battery level, Hövding is recharged by connecting the USB cable supplied in an external charger with a USB port. A fully charged battery lasts for approximately 9 hours of cycling.

In the picture below, we provide a clear explanation of how does Hövding work in case of the occurrence of an accident in real life:

Figure2: Hövding functioning mechanism

Source: https://www.eteknix.com/hovding-airbag-helmet/

4. Why Hövding is a strategic and responsible innovation?

4.1. Hövding is user-friendly

From the very beginning, the founders of Anna Haupt Hövding wanted to invent a helmet that provides safer helmets for urban cyclists that is easy to manipulate, light and protects much better than an ordinary helmet that we find in the store. In fact, throughout our research on this innovation, we have found an interesting quote from Anna Haupt, CEO of Hövding that sums it all up : « At Hövding, we consider cyclists to be everyday heroes and we see it as our mission to keep them safe. We are very proud of the fact that Hövding over the years have helped protect more than 2600 cyclists in accidents. Because we believe the world will become a better place if more people choose the bicycle – for inner city environment, health and climate reasons ».

4.2. « The world’s safest bicycle helmet »:

According to a Stanford University study that was conducted on August 2016 under the name « Modeling and Optimization of Airbag Helmets for preventing Head Injuries in Bicycling, we came to the conclusion that Hövding 2.0 (the latest version of Hövding after Hövding 1.0) provides 8 time better protection for the head than the usual helmet, and reduces the risk of serious head injury in an average accident at 25 km/h (16 miles per hour) to 2 %.

Figure3: Hövding risk reduction in comparison to a conventional helmet

Source: www.businessinsider.com


4.3. Hövding is eco-friendly

a) What environmental criteria does Hövding comply with?

The product complies with the EU directive RoHS (Restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment) 2002/95/EC, the collection and recycling of such equipment in European Directive 2002/96/EC, the Packaging and Waste Directive 94/62/EC, and the EU regulation REACH (Registration, Evaluation and Authorization of Chemicals) EG 1907/2006.

b) How should we recycle Hövding?

To recycle a Hövding that has been deployed or has worn out (without having been inflated), it is recommended to take your device to a recycling center. Hövding contains electrical and electronic components and batteries that must be separated as part of the recycling process. Hövding is 100 % recyclable.


According to the aspects of environmental and social responsibility studied in class, we can safely say that Hövding follows the three directions, which are:

a) Contributing to a better society: At Hövding, people believe that cyclists are every day’s heroes, that’s why they put all their efforts and work in order to provide safer rides and better sense of cycling for bikers, thanks to a fashionable and a protecting airbag.

b) Minimizing environmental harm: Hövding has proven to be 100 % recyclable thanks to its environmental-friendly components (the airbag is made out of a 100 % recyclable nylon), and the other electronic components such as the sensors, the zip and the buttons are also recyclable.

c) Delivering sustainable development: Hövding meets the needs of a lot of cyclists every year while limiting its impact on the environment and consequently on future generation. Also, Hövding people are working on future accomplishments in fact:

  • The company doubled sales in the last quarter – boosted by viral marketing.
  • Hövding is looking to add the US and Australia to its 16 markets across Europe and Asia.
  • In 2019 a newer version will be even safer, more comfortable and connected to your smartphone


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