Motion sensors and microcontrollers from STMicroelectronics enable the operation of the airbag bicycle helmet invented by Hövding, a Swedish design house.
The combination of innovative design and state-of-the-art electronics has
produced market-unique safety equipment for cyclists in a novel form factor.
International studies show that bicycle helmets reduce injuries by at least 60 percent.
Four in 10 people who die in cycling accidents would have survived had they been
wearing a helmet. Despite these alarming statistics, the vast majority of
cyclists do not wear helmets for different reasons: they find them bulky,
impractical to carry around, or unflattering to wear.
The Hövding gear addresses both the safety and practical aspects of bicycle
helmets. Unlike traditional skull shells, the ‘invisible‘helmet is a collar worn
around the neck with an airbag folded inside. In an accident, ST’s motion
sensors pick up the abnormal movements of a cyclist and send a signal to the
airbag, which inflates in a tenth of a second to form a hood that surrounds and
protects nearly all of the cyclist’s head and neck, while leaving the field of
In an emergency the air bag inflates and protects
The integrated sensors in the collar detect both linear and angular motion in
all three dimensions and recognize complex movements of the user with
outstanding precision and speed. To determine an accident condition, the sensor
system uses sophisticated algorithms defined from a database of specific
movement patterns recorded during hundreds of simulated-accident and normal
cycling situations. The electronics in the Hövding helmet are managed by an
STM32 microcontroller that makes sure everything functions reliably and on a
minimal energy budget. The Hövding helmets conform to EU safety regulations and are CE-marked.
This article was published by EE Times Europe.
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