14.08.12 by Jeff

The Invisible Bike Helmet by Anna Haupt and Terese Alstin

The Invisible Bike Helmet by Anna Haupt, Terese Alstin
Believe it or not Anna Haupt is wearing an invisible helmet in the above image. I know what you’re thinking and the answer is no, it’s not hidden in that touque she’s wearing. What started as an exam project turned into 10 million dollars of venture capital and 7 years of research for Anna and Terese Alstin. They were told it couldn’t be done. The end of this video gave me chills.

Watch below!

Film directed by Fredrik Gertten

Learn more about The Invisible Bicycle Helmet here: hovding.com

Jeff Hamada is the Founder and Editor of Booooooom. He lives and works in Vancouver.

  • My God.  I n c r e d i b l e.


    neat idea. but i think a neck brace airbag would be even more uncomfortable than just wearing a helmet. haha

    • anyone who bikes to work and has to worry about helmet hair would gladly switch im sure – this is an incredible idea that will hopefully inspire other designers

    • I think this is a terrific idea!  I have a larger than average head and it is difficult to find a helmet that fits properly and fits in my budget.  I don’t care about what my hair looks like, whether wind blown or helmet hair.  I do care about my safety and this would be something I could wear.  I don’t bike because I can’t find a proper helmet.  This would help me feel safer and I’d probably bike more frequently.  Love the innovation!

  • Gabrielmoss123

    what about in the summer?  you dont want to have to wear a hot scarf thing around your neck all the time.  Also what if you have something on your head already like headphones or glasses?  Would that obstruct the airbag?

    • Missteerious

      a pet peeve of mine – as a year-round-cyclist – is folks who wear headphones while they ride. not to be a wet blanket, but people need to concentrate on their surroundings and not their tunes.

    • Junk4u

       and a helmet isn’t hot in the summer?

      • Madeline

        Yes it would also be hot, but it would look sillier to wear a scarf thing in the summer than a helmet.

    • Zipz

      I understand the question but it is lacking perspective. Helmet, neck brace, whatever protection you choose, it may be the barrier between life and death. And you are concerned about heat and headphones? I do not always wear a helmut and that’s a bonehead move on my part but because, “Im hot” has never stood up as a solid defence to anyone who questions me.

      • Jenny

         easy there, no need to turn this into a flame war

  • Lgp

    Very innovative!

  • Mybluedaisies

    Does the helmet only work once if deployed?

    • Ericatron

      Traditional helmets must be replaced after an impact.

      • ya i was going to say the same thing. i believe they both must be replaced

    • protist

      All helmets only work once; if a helmet strikes the ground, you should replace it. They are designed to crack on impact.

      • bike_bike

         Here’s the problem, though.  In every crash that you are moving with enough velocity to trigger this airbag, you are not necessarily going to hit your head which would result in an impact to your helmet and helmet replacement.

        This thing is going to be a guaranteed replacement every crash.

  • I think a hot helmet thing on your head is uncomfortable too. If I’m going to be uncomfortable, I’d rather not have ruined hair in the process…

    • Jones

      Clearly perfect hair is more important then your life. 

    • Only costs $600 a pop, too.

      That’s assuming it only ever works in a life-saving situation too and not if you bump into a branch or fall off in a harmless way.

      • Art

         that’s 498 **Swedish Kroner**…
        Only about $75 US

      • Nicole

        The 498 SEK is only for the extra shell. If you want to buy the
        Complete Hövding, it is 3998 SEK, which is about $600 US.

      • Scott O.

         498 Kroner is just for the shell. 3998 kroner is for the helmet.

  • Bobby_ws

    how is this invisible?

    i know they want to promote their product here but a good helmet is in no way uncomfortable, doesnt make you sweat more than without it and another thing (besides your own safety) is that it also works as a symbol to others, especially car drivers. they see that you care about your surrounding traffic and you are not only 
    my helmet weighs 235grams und i dont even feel it on my head when im riding. can you beat that? i highly doubt it. secondly my helmet is always ready to use. no matter the weather, the temperature or the the battery status. 
    there have been lots of comparable approaches for motorcycle riders but they never really got a shot. for the female middle aged occasional rider this might be a nice accessior, but when cames to cycling it’s a lot about weight-efficiency and that thing is in no way sporty at all. but at least the hairdo stays in place. ;)
    but don’t get me wrong – i embrace everything that brings more people to riding a bike on a regular basis and don’t just see it as something they could use on their holiday field trips.

    • The problem with visible helmets is it serves as a cue for car drivers to act recklessly around cyclists. And that’s not something a visible helmet can ever fix without strong cycling infrastructure.

      • Xargo13

         That might be the stupidest thing I’ve ever read on the entire internet. You win! You think drivers act more carefully near someone with a helmet? Driver – “Lets drive crazy” Friend – “no man, that dude has a helmet on” Driver – “woah, good thing you caught that, I’ll be careful now”

      • Actually there was a study conducted that showed riders without helmets were given slightly more space than riders who wore helmets. It’s a perception of experience.

      • What? Are you seriously suggesting drivers just start running into bikers if they see they have a helmet on. Christsake.

      • Brian

        He never said that drivers will actively try to hit someone. When a driver sees that a biker has a helmet etc. it puts up a mental flag that if they got hit, they would be fine. If they saw someone without a helmet, they would drive and act a lot more carefully to make sure nobody gets hurt or in trouble.

      • Tim

        That makes absolutely no sense at all. To show how absurd that concept is, see Xargo’s comment above. 

      • Their are thousands of decisions you have to make, constantly, while driving. The vast majority of them are made unconsciously, and the unconscious mind often does rather silly things.

        Also, when someone posts hard, scientific evidence, “that makes no sense” isn’t a rebuttal.

      • TFJensen

         Before more people bash this comment, here’s the documentation:


      • Bobby_ws

        “The helmet effect is likely the 
        result of drivers judging cyclists’ skill levels from their 
        appearance and adjusting 
        their overtaking accordingly”and…”When overtaking the testbicycle, drivers passed closer when the experimenter wore a helmet.”I have to admit that i didn’t make myself clear about that surrounding traffic situation. But i wasn’t really talking about cars taking over but about other road users, drivers as well as pedestrians in general. And i know from research that overtaking cars are not the main cause of accidents. At least not where i live.(Fast)Bikers often tend to act like the usual rules don’t apply to them, people think they act recklessly and are selfish in every way. I think wearing a helmet can show that you are aware of other road users and that you care about safety AT ALL. What would you think of some dude on a motorbike who’s not wearing a helmet? …Right!Maybe i’m totally wrong and a helmet just shuts you off from the traffic since it only protects yourself. And not wearing one would calm everybody else down so you don’t have to care about dangerous situations at all…I also think that the moment you put on a helmet works as a little mind shift. “Helmet is on: Traffic Mode”I don’t know about you but i experience this myself. And the scarf maybe doesn’t give you the feeling of protection since the “helmet” isn’t physically there as long as you don’t crash. I would have my difficulties to trust in something invisible.
        And $500…pheewww.Most manufacturers replace your helmet after a crash for a reduced price. I guess the girls also have worked out something like that.But these are just thoughts for you to bash on. I would really like to try that thing myself.

      • Abimused

         Just gotta point out that this is invalid in countries where wearing a helmet is the law. Here in Australia you MUST wear a helmet when you ride on the road and there are harsh fines if you don’t. It’s also illegal to ride on the footpath, so you can only be helmetless when you’re on a bike track/park, where you’re not going to encounter cars.

        In my experience (and that of most of the cyclists I’ve spoken to here), motorists here tend to drive incredibly dangerously around cyclists. It seems that as soon as they encounter a cyclist, there is the mentality of ‘OMG, cyclist is going to get in the way and slow me down so I MUST get away from them as soon as possible, even if it means putting their life in danger’. I think it comes from an arrogance of ‘I’m in a car, which is bigger and more powerful than your bike, THUS I have more right than you to be on the road’. It’s a mentality that angers me so much because generally cyclists don’t cause much of an inconvenience (maybe they’ll slow a motorist down for a minute at most) and in a collision, the cyclist will ALWAYS come off worse.

        So whilst this helmet is a great innovation, I think it is more important to focus on awareness campaigns that aim to change the way cyclists are viewed by motorists, teaching patience and respect.

    • Madeline

      “Female middle-aged occasional rider”? WTF dude? Because only young men can be serious cyclists?
      Anyways, aside from that; no, maybe this particular device isn’t superior to your helmet, but I think it’s cool that they are trying to move forward. Maybe this idea will inspire other people to think about helmets in a new way, or this design will grow and improve with time.

  • Jeff! Thanks so much for posting this! The future!  

  • Jeff! Thanks so much for posting this! The Future!!

  • This video is way more dramatic than the invention.  

  • Guest

    I would totally wear one if they weren’t $600.

    • Asdf

      They’re 600 Swedish dollars, or 75 US dollars.

      • Anna

        The 498 SEK is only for the extra shell. If you want to buy the
        Complete Hövding, it is 3998 SEK, which is about $600 US.

  • Yea I think it might be a bit hot in the summer.. but very inspiring idea nonetheless. I’d love to see it in action on the streets!


      well hopefully not “in action”… that would mean some sort of an accident involved. ha

  • Chris

    Don’t worry about the summer heat.They will have tiny fans spinning, keeping you cool…

    • Sunflower

      Yea I like this invention, haters are just jealous they didn’t come up with it themselves but will never admit it.
      Plus I solved all the petty complaints. 1 scarf helmet holder will come in a variety of styles so it can match any outfit. 2 now available with built in A.C. tada! everyone on board now?

  • Nachosen

    I love when something is very inspiring, a really good invention. Then all people try to question it, not trusting it, too good to be true.

    I really love the concept and the video thought.

    • James

      Its a terrible ‘invention’, and people SHOULD be questioning not just this ‘invention’ but any that they come across, that’s what makes inventions into products.

      You’ll notice I used apostrophes around the word invention where refering to their not-so-invisible bike helmet. That’s because this ‘invention’ has been around for years and the fact that it took them 7 years to come up with it goes to show how moronic these 2 women really are.

      This thing costs around 600 dollars, has the possibility to fail and is likely 1 use only.

      Give me one good reason why anyone should use one of these over a traditional bike helmet.

  • peterblue11

    do you know that all those airbags are set off with little explosives…admittedly very minute amounts but what if something went wrong in the production line (like it has happened to a few car manufacturers) and the explosion is too big? your head would come right off! 

    rather wear the ugly visible helmet then…

  • Willislombard

    I hate wearing my helmet. I know I should and my GF and mom give me shit all the time but it’s because I absolutely love having my headphones on and riding (I know that’s even worse but I love it). This thing is fantastic option for me.

  • Frank

    Cool — looks much nicer than a goofy bike helmet! Kind of expensive, though.

    • Art

       the prices are listed in Swedish Kroner. 498 SEK equals $75 US

      • KGC

        It’s only the extra shells that cost 498 SEK. The actual product is 3998 SEK.

  • Bla

    We don’t wear helmets at all in the Netherlands, and we’re still alive…

    • Ruan

      That’s because they’re a strong part of your culture; the bikes rule the road, cars are not the norm.  It doesn’t translate to larger countries.

      • exactly Bla – what’s needed is a change of culture and awareness not greater insulation from your actions and consequences. I ride a bike in New York City every day.

  • AndyP1101

    I’m just wondering if the helmet is useless after it deploys. I read a comment that said the helmet was $600. I’ve been in a car accident where the air bags saved my life, but those airbags were were only good for that one accident. I think it’s very innovative and possibly could work… After 7 more years of testing and tweaking they might be millionaires. But as a cyclist I would stick to what is proven to work first of all, and second I would never spend that much on a so called “helmet” that could possibly only be worn time after you take a fall. What if it pops? What if it doesn’t deploy? A helmet is not made for looks or comfort. Though looks and comfort are probably the reason most people buy the helmets they do. A helmet is made for protection. If you are worried about your hair. Uh a car. A Prius. For the Eco-friendly nuts out there. If you can’t afford a car walk, but I wouldn’t compromise my safety so my hair looks good. Sorry, this is very creative but not a “world changing” invention.

  • bike_bike

    I see a horrible design flaw with this:

    In forward facing crashes, this design offers less protection than a traditional helmet.  Since the opening around the face is so large, if the front of the helmet makes contact with the pavement, your face will just slide right out at the same velocity striking the pavement.

    I understand that a traditional bike helmet offers little to no facial protection, but it does offer protection to your forehead, which this device does not.

    This is a really neat concept, but it should never be allowed to leave the concept phase as is; I doubt this would ever get the same safety approvals and endorsements that a real helmet does.

    • bikeabee

      i thought the exact same thing… how does it stay secure around your forehead? it seems like it leaves you dangerously exposed – the opening seems large enough that your entire head could pop through if you were to fall while twisting or something.

      i wonder also if this has the same concerns as car airbags – ex, a pen in someones front pocket cutting into their chest upon deployment. there of course will be someone wearing their headphones with this thing on, what will happen when the airbag deploys around their headphones? or if you are wearing glasses/sunglasses? have hair pins keeping your hair up?

      if this is actually SAFER than regular helmets, then yeah sure, sounds great. but if its just about being more comfortable, not wearing an ugly helmet, or not getting helmet hair, then I think the objectives are way off.

  • So, what actually makes the helmet deploy?  Is it a sensor that deploys if the helmet is no longer in an upright position (falling backwards, forward, sideways) or is it from impact alone (which wouldn’t work if you just fell off your bike on your own)?  Also, as someone else stated, this is very expensive if it is only used once and you fall off in a simple accident because you lose your balance.

    • Labyrinthia

      With any accident you are suppose to replace your helmet.

      • Only if you strike your head. Which doesn’t actually happen during most accidents.

  • Bryan

    “Invisible” is misleading

  • Clearskycounelling

    I am glad that the ‘chickens’ allowed themselves to think outside of the coop —no rooster thinking—great ideas begin with courage, humour, and finish with perseverance and believing in the value of your own ideas.  Passion to making a difference!   Loved it

  • An airbag for the head, cool idea. I still say the best safety is careful riding.

  • Jayne

    It is like the top sailing/boating life jackets/vests…deploy on immersion. The vest doesn’t have to be replaced once it’s been deployed only rearmed and repacked. It is actually recommended that they be deployed annually to ensure the inflation cylinder is current. The top vests are around $400 (Canadian$), rearm kit about $30 and are guaranteed for 5 years. Like this collar they are smaller, lighter and cooler (literally as well as figuratively) than conventional vests. Auto-inflating vests have been around for awhile and keep getting better as I’m sure this new product will also.
    You can still buy a conventional vest if that is what you prefer and anyone who truly prefers a conventional helmet will be able to get one. And I’m sure competitive cyclists will stay with the hard shell…too many opportunities for accidental deployment. Kayakers and paddlers don’t wear auto-inflate vests for the same reason.
    The $600 may seem daunting now but once they’ve sold a few million I predict the price will drop.
    If I had the dough I’d be investing in this company! I’m sharing this with all my cycling friends.

  • Heather

    This is wonderful. Has it ever failed? Also I think you should bring it to the Dragon’s Den in Vancouver Canada. That will win Canada for you. Good on you, Ladies! Very smart.

  • this is great, but how do you take it out and stuff it back in for the cop who wants to write you a ticket for not wearing a helmet?

  • Willhunt1

    love it, just be smooth over the local jumps on the MTB ;)

  • Lili Gabbiano

    I love this invention, have it also on my blog with a little photostory…

  • Grace Netter

    This is just like a Point-Two or HITS air vest for equestrian cross country!

  • Opensesame

    This a re-appropriation of existing technology. It is not some amazing new invention despite what the clever video may have you think. This technology has been in use both on a pro racing and consumer level for a few years now in motorcycling.. Watch any motoGP and you will see riders wearing this. Check any major protective jacket manufacturer and at their top end is a jacket with an inbuilt airbag. I think it’s a great re-appropriation of an existing invention but to suggest this is a new idea or technology is a bit rich.

  • 10 million dollars to make a bike helmet?

  • Fiora Starchildwolf

    I’m a female engineer, and also raising a fashion designer daughter, and I am inspired by this idea and these young women…who are attending the college my daughter is transferring to.  
    To all of you putting out potential problems with this design, well, THAT’S what engineers DO!  Figure out all the potential ways this could be a problem and then FIX those things.  I used to be a Functional Test Engineer for GE’s Automation Control Systems (factory automation) Division…essentially, my job was to take new software/hardware in that division and, with my team, find all the possible ways to “break it” before it went out to production and got used in the real world.  Such issues as:
    -Is it too hot in summer 
    -Would it deploy unnecessarily
    -Will it adequately cover the forehead (I think it could do a MUCH better job than a traditional helmet, which can easily be strapped incorrectly and slide backward exposing the forehead)
    -Can it be repacked if it does deploy without impact (maybe bike shops could have specially trained people–JOBS!!!!)
    -Can it sense the difference between a quick intentional or non-dangerous move and a fall?
    -How to handle legal issues (make it one of the approved items in the laws?)
    -Cost?  (As anyone who has ever done design/innovation knows, the initial costs are gigantic compared to the production costs once it goes commercial–anyone want to guess how much a laptop computer cost in the first design phase? YOU couldn’t afford it!)

    ALL of that is like a giant puzzle to engineers and designers!  It’s what makes the job FUN and interesting…and ALSO what gets people to the moon or up in the air or down in the ocean.  If you can describe the problem, you can generally fix the problem. So rather than putting these women down for the first major innovation in bike helmets I’ve seen in many years, how about supporting the new?

    Yes, there IS an aspect of this that is all about fashion, and those riders who avoid wearing helmets because of what it does to their look or their hair or their comfort NEED something to get them on board with protecting themselves too.  This would be HUGE if it can be brought to an affordable price point and get some of the bugs worked out.

  • Cindy

    This video is just them advertising themselves. A bit too much unwarranted self-importance for something I just heard of today, don’t you think?

    And people don’t wear helmets for comfort. They wear them to keep their heads from cracking open like an egg on the pavement. It looks all high tech, but it seems gimmicky and hardly a suitable replacement for a proper helmet.

    If you want to ride a bike out on the street, you should be prepared. Nothing to argue about.

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