This Helmet Becomes an Airbag Around Your Collar
The airbag helmet design was originally developed for bike riders in Europe.
The airbag helmet design was originally developed for bike riders in Europe.(Photo Courtesy: 985thejewel.com)

This Helmet Becomes an Airbag Around Your Collar

What seems to be the most bizarre yet brilliant innovation for two-wheeler riders in India, three Indian Institute of Technology-Roorkee students have developed a helmet that is, in essence, an inflatable airbag around your neck.

The original design was conceptualised by Anna Haupt and Terese Alstin in Sweden, where the duo developed an inflatable helmet for bicycles named Hövding, which retailed at $335.

However, the three IIT students say their design is much more cost effective and the final product could be made available for as low as Rs 2,000.

This seems to be a great move for Indian riders, as roads in the country are considered among the most dangerous in the world. According to reports, around 27 percent deaths caused by road accidents in India involved two-wheeler motorists – most of them died due to head injuries.

The inflatable airbag helmet is the brainchild of Rajvardhan Singh, Sarang Nagwanshi and Mohit Siddha, final year engineering students at IIT-Roorkee . They came across the idea during an internship at the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) while working on inflatable space antennas.

It took them days to understand the laws of collision and other science involved before conceptualising the the idea. The engineering students later managed to execute a workable design of a helmet that would inflate by itself if the rider is at risk.

Speaking about the helmet's construct, it's a collar made out of Kevlar, which is also used to make bullet-proof vests. The collar houses sensors to read lean angle, velocity, and acceleration, among others. When the collar detects an impact, the airbag is deployed covering the neck and head.

What we felt is a drawback, however, is that it doesn’t cover the rider’s face, which conventional helmets do. That for us is a big deal breaker.

People in India (for some inexplicable reason) don’t like wearing helmets and to avoid penalties and investing in ISI standard helmets (which don’t cost a bomb!) buy cheap helmets which break by a single blow.

An option like the Hövding helmet, which two-wheeler riders have to put around their collar, might just help reduce the inconvenience of lugging around a heavy helmet all the time.

What remains to be seen is whether an option like this will ever receive a clearance from the Bureau of Indian Standards (ISI) which is responsible for the standardisation of helmets in India.

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