The technology inside Hövding is very similar to that of a smartphone. The device contains a microprocessor, an accelerometer, a gyroscope, and a battery – and because such components are now so wideley adopted by the mobile phone industry, Hövding has been able to manufacture a tech smart safety device that is affordably priced for the mass market.
The world’s first airbag for cyclists is the result of intensive research since 2005. The sensors monitor the user’s movements 200 times per second, feeding that data into an algorithm, which triggers the device to react in the event of an accident. The unique airbag will then inflate, fix the neck with support and provide the world’s best shock absorption.
The unique airbag was developed in collaboration with airbag manufacturer Alva Sweden and extensive testing has been carried out to ensure the airbag provides the protection required, resulting in full CE certification.
The airbag is filled in one tenth of a second with Helium gas, using so called ‘cold inflation’ technology rather than the pyrotechic technology used in car airbags.
The inflated airbag covers a much larger area than a traditional cycle helmet, including support for the neck to prevent whiplash, and is designed based on data from current accident statistics.
Hövding’s battery is charged using the USB cable included and features LEDs and audio warnings to indicate charge levels and low battery. A single charge will give about nine hours of cycling.
The device is manually ‘armed’or activated and must only be done so when you are on your bicycle. To put on your Hövding, place it around your neck and pull the zip up under your chin. A button on the zip tag activates Hövding when it’s attached to the right-hand side of the collar. Similarly, Hövding is turned off when you unclip the on/off button.
A ‘black box’ similar to the kind used on planes, constantly records and overwrites ten seconds of data whenever the device is active. In some cases the data from an accident is interesting and valuable to us in our on-going development work. In other cases the data can help us verify claims that the device went off when it shouldn’t have (a false inflation).
Users are encouraged to get into the habit of only activating Hövding when they are on their bicycle and deactivating it just before they get off their bicycle so as to avoid false inflations.