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FoundersAnna Haupt and Terese Alstin
HeadquartersMalmö, Sweden
Key people
Anna Haupt, founder and Terese Alstin, founder
Number of employees

Hövding is the world's first airbag bicycle helmet. After seven years of research, development and testing, the Hövding was launched in November 2011.

Hövding was initially created invented by Anna Haupt and Terese Alstin in Malmö, Sweden in 2005 as a master thesis for the founders' Master of Industrial Design at the Faculty of Engineering at Lund University in Sweden.[1] Their studies included the comparison of accelerometer data from bicycle crashes against 'typical' cycling.[2] The Hövding contains accelerometers that detect these unusual movements which then deploys the airbag if the movement patterns match the profile of a crash.[3] Each Hövding airbag also contains a "Black Box" that records the accelerometer data 10 seconds before a deployment.[4] This data can be used by the Hövding developers to improve the product. The Hövding collar is constructed of a waterproof material, and has interchangeable fabric "shells" that allow colour customisation.[3]

The two founders Anna Haupt and Terese Alstin left the company in 2015.[5][6]

Hövding is CE certified[5] after undergoing an extensive process for approval by SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden. CE marking is required for a cycle helmet to be able to be sold in Europe and certifies that the helmet complies with the requirements laid down in the EU Directive for personal protection equipment.

In March 2015 Hövding 2.0 was released. There are a number of changes that were added based on feedback from users. These include improvements to the weight, comfort and change in location of the USB port.

Safety tests[edit]


In 2012 the Swedish insurance company Folksam tested 13 cycle helmets on the market. They carried out an impact test on the same principles as for CE marking but with a higher impact speed, 25 km/h instead of 20 km/h.[7]

All the traditional helmets achieved G-force ranging from 196 to 294 g. The lower the value, the better the helmet’s ability to protect the cyclist’s head in an accident. Hövding achieved 65 g, providing at least three times better shock absorption than the other helmets.

Que Choisir[edit]

A test by French Que Choisir concluded that Hövding did not meet international safety requirements, according to the magazine of the Swedish Consumers' Association.[8] The critique against Hövding was that the helmet did not fully protect against impact with hard, narrow objects, such as curbstones or metal posts. Hövding refuted the critique, claiming that the tests was irrelevant as the helmet is so different in design that normal standards cannot be used; instead they referred to the tests performed during the CE certification, which show Hövding to be far safer than the average bike helmet. Que Choisir, in turn, stated that the laboratory they used for the tests is highly reputable and that the tests are still relevant regardless of design. Another critique Hövding received from Que Choisir was the inflation time. Que Choisir listed the inflation time to 382 ms, comparing this with airbags for motorcycles which has a limit of maximum 200 ms, is almost twice as long time.[8] There is, however a difference in crash velocities between motorcycles and bicycles and tests showed that it deployed as it should in a test crash by a stunt person.[7] The test by Que Choisir was performed on Hövding 1.0, whether the issues have been addressed for the release of Hövding 2.0 is unknown as no new tests has been performed.

Stanford University[edit]

A team of bioengineers performed a series of drop tests on the Hovding and concluded that there is an eight-fold reduction in the risk of concussion compared to traditional helmets.[9] The thickness and stiffness of the Hovding was described as "near perfect" in protecting against concussion and head injury. They did, however, find that the air pressure inside the helmet was critical for optimum performance. Partial inflation could cause the helmet to bottom out, where it would give less protection than an expanded polystyrene helmet.


Anna Haupt and Terese Alstin won the world's most prestigious designer award with their invention Hövding Index:Award 2011,[10] and D&AD Award in 2012.[11]

Criticism is mainly focused on the price of the Hövding,[12] and questions about its functionality during certain types of crashes.[8]


  1. ^ "Who We Are". Hövding Sverige AB. Retrieved 8 May 2013.
  2. ^ "Invisible helmet, airbag for cyclists designed in Malmö". Bikestorming.org. Archived from the original on 3 July 2013. Retrieved 8 May 2013.
  3. ^ a b "How Hövding Works". Hövding Sverige AB. Archived from the original on 23 April 2013. Retrieved 8 May 2013.
  4. ^ "After an Accident". Hövding Sverige AB. Archived from the original on 30 April 2013. Retrieved 8 May 2013.
  5. ^ a b Venessa Wong (April 26, 2012). "An "Invisible" Bike Helmet From Sweden". Business Week. Retrieved 19 November 2012.
  6. ^ Sarah Nylund (April 23, 2012). "Hövding återkallar cykelhjälmar". Sydsvenskan. Retrieved 19 November 2012.
  7. ^ a b "Test av cykelhjälmar – Bäst i test 2017 - Folksam". Folksam (in Swedish). Retrieved 2018-02-06.
  8. ^ a b c "Råd&Rön - Uppblåsbara cykelhjälmen klarar inte säkerhetsstandarden". www.radron.se. Retrieved 2016-09-20.
  9. ^ Kurt, Mehmet; Laksari, Kaveh; Kuo, Calvin; Grant, Gerald A.; Camarillo, David B. (2016-09-27). "Modeling and Optimization of Airbag Helmets for Preventing Head Injuries in Bicycling". Annals of Biomedical Engineering. 45 (4): 1148–1160. doi:10.1007/s10439-016-1732-1. ISSN 0090-6964. PMID 27679447.
  10. ^ Alice Rawsthorn (September 4, 2011). "This Contest Takes the Prize". New York Times. Retrieved 19 November 2012.
  11. ^ "WWinners - Hšvding". D&AD. Retrieved 19 November 2012.
  12. ^ Laker, Laura (22 May 2012). "Will the airbag bike helmet be the way forward?". London: Guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 28 July 2013.

External links[edit]