A unique bicycle helmet invented by Hövding, a Swedish design house incorporates motion sensors and microcontrollers from global semiconductors specialist, ST Microelectronics
The airbag bicycle helmet combines innovative design and state-of-the-art electronics to create practical safety equipment for cyclists in a novel form factor.
International studies show that bicycle helmets reduce injuries by at least 60%. Many 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. Differing in design from 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 the 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 vision open.
The integrated sensors in the collar detect both linear and angular motion in all three dimensions and recognise complex movements of the user with excellent 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 STM32 microcontroller, which manages the electronics in the Hövding helmet, is a powerful, flexible and reliable control chip that makes sure everything functions reliably and on a minimal energy budget. One of the industry’s largest ARM Cortex M-based microcontroller families, ST’s STM32 comprises more than 300 devices with many different memory configurations, an extensive set of peripherals, outstanding power consumption, and industry-leading development ecosystem.
Anna Haupt, founder and inventor, Hövding explains that ST’s market–leading motion sensors and microcontrollers offering unbeatable performance and minimal power consumption were a perfect match to their exacting design needs.
According to Benedetto Vigna, Executive Vice President and General Manager Analog, MEMS and Sensors Group, ST Microelectronics, the Hövding helmet is an excellent example of how state-of-the-art design and technology combine to make a positive contribution to people's life. He adds that Hövding’s decision to rely on ST’s sensors and control chips confirms ST’s industry leadership and enabling role in the development of innovative applications that put technologies in new contexts for the benefit of society.