The Invisible Bike Helmet: The Future of Helmets?

The Invisible Bike Helmet video is making the rounds, and why shouldn’t it? If it works as advertised, imagine the impact it could have. Inflatable safety gear is becoming common place in motorcycling, skiing and snowboarding, and other sports, so why not cycling? Sure, there are a ton of what-ifs, but it’s cool to see, even if it’s just an idea.

What do you think? Are inflatable helmets the future?

Comments

Luke - 08/16/12 - 1:49am

skip to 3mins to see it work

Masher - 08/16/12 - 2:16am

Looks less comfortable than regular helmet, but at least it won’t mess up your ‘do!

Geoff - 08/16/12 - 2:41am

I can see how it would definitely help in an accident, in the same way a car airbag will. But just as with a car I don’t think it’ll work as a sole solution. I think it could work as a supplement to a conventional helmet though.

Rich - 08/16/12 - 4:36am

It’s a great idea and an amazing technical achievement. But there are so many practical considerations that could stop it succeeding. How much does it cost? Is it single-use? Does it inflate if you have an accident but you manage to stay upright? How long do the batteries last? Does it interfere with wearing a backpack or courier bag (or do they interfere with it)? And, most fundamentally, are the people who don’t wear helmets going to bother with this device, in significant numbers?

I hope it succeeds – great ideas deserve to – but I’m not convinced there’s a market.

Fred - 08/16/12 - 5:41am

Hmm, I sure looks impressive, but still… why not integrate it into a regular helmet ? If a helmet is uncomfortable for you, a super fat collar will be just as uncomfortable. If you don’t like helmets out of fashion concerns, imagine the following: You are cruising along the beach way, wearing flipflops, shorts, a shirt and a fat collar around your neck ?! Also anyone else getting strange feelings about wearing a collar filled with explosives ? ;-)
My guess is that it will be integrated into helmets but with a marketing campaign shouting “the invisible helmet” you get just the right amount of attention.
But in reality, for sure, everything is much more complicated than I imagine…

steve - 08/16/12 - 6:16am

They are 3998 SEK – about $600 at the current exchange rate. They’re only for sale in Sweden and the UK at this point..

Lots of questions….

Gabe - 08/16/12 - 6:47am

Cost seems prohibitive, but that’s the case with any new tech. Rich seems to have some good concerns, but I’m sure the girls have considered them. My biggest concern is the single vs multiple use possibility. And how resistant is it to tears? Air bags have been known to tear/pop. Could that damage my hearing? Guess its a moot point if my skull is crushed.

dave - 08/16/12 - 7:30am

also not much good if you get bonked by a tree branch or side mirror.

Uncle Ned - 08/16/12 - 8:05am

So exciting. i am always so happy to see people pursuing safety aggressively and with the actual use scenario in mind. well done, keep it up.

Pablo - 08/16/12 - 8:35am

Looks like a good idea for urban biking in a cold country but….., does any mountain biker in a warmer climate, imagine how hot it would be a one hour climb wearing that “tiny scarf”???

I’m not saying it cannot work but needs serious downsizing for practical use outside cold countries cities.

Will - 08/16/12 - 8:53am

…or you could just wear a regular helmet and not have to worry about paying $600 if you crash because you dumped your latte on yourself as you’re riding to work.

It does seem a bit like a car airbag in that it will do you some good if all other factors play out in your favor. i.e. it doesn’t shift at the moment of impact or cause other injuries (hearing, burns, etc)

dog - 08/16/12 - 9:21am

what if your batteries run out right before you crash?

JoeKing - 08/16/12 - 9:57am

The statement ” How could girls invent something this technical” says alot. In a post-feminist world (especially Sweden!) WHY would anyone think “girls” couldn’t invent such a technical invention…self-conscious much?

What is “girlie” is the notion of being inconvenienced by “wearing a mushroom on your head”. Riders (of both genders) give as little thought to doning a helmet as putting on cycling shoes, gloves, sunglasses or any other cycling gear. Wearing a helmet is as much a part of riding as putting on ski boots before skiing.

I think they have it backwards….wearing a helmet is a badge of honor, it separates a “responsible” cyclist from a frivoulous one. And the idea of wearing a thick scarf in the summer..fail.

Dan - 08/16/12 - 11:15am

They lost me when they started speaking their freaky deaky dutch

Paul - 08/16/12 - 11:31am

Interesting. But it looks really uncomfortable.

ramon - 08/16/12 - 12:27pm

I’d like to test it. I think it’s another approach to solve the problem. Usually the sport cycling enthusiast don’t like new ideas (as can be read above), but urban cyclist it’s made of different wood.

greg - 08/16/12 - 12:39pm

Im impressed. Yes, itll be hot. Yes, its bulky. Itll get smaller, though. And in northern europe its cold for a good part of the year. Would probably sell well in cananadia. Obviously not for enthusiasts, etc, but for people in urban environments where you either go by bike or walk. It wont replace the helmet, itll be another viable option.

Chis - 08/16/12 - 1:18pm

@ JoeKing:

“I think they have it backwards….wearing a helmet is a badge of honor, it separates a “responsible” cyclist from a frivoulous one.”

Clearly you’ve never been to Europe! Outside of the UK helmets are the exception, not the norm. Walk around Paris and you’d be hard pressed to see anyone wearing a helmet, including the police. They’re just not as much of a fear based culture as we are.

Also the fact that this has been tested and approved for Sweden is a good sign. Consumer safety standards are much, MUCH more rigorous over there than in the US where business interests have a priority over consumer safety.

It’s interesting technology but they would need to make it lighter and MUCH cheaper for the US market.

Nivlac - 08/16/12 - 1:26pm

I don’t think they’ve intended to take over the athletic bicycling helmet. This is for urban riders and commuters, on their way to work in the financial district in the morning. I know my fiancee hates helmets, and I would definitely drop $600 or more to know she will have head protection every morning – versus begging her to wear a helmet that she may take off or leave at home. I think this product has a market, just not recreational or competitive cycling. Although it must be way more aero than even the best road cycling helmet. (TT helmets not included)

JoeKing - 08/16/12 - 1:58pm

@Chris

What is clear is that you don’t comprehend the contradiction in your own statement. On one hand you praise the “much MUCH more rigorous” consumer safety standard…a response based in part on fear (of evil business) yet you mock some alleged ” fear based culture” of the US.

Perhaps, we Americans value or own lives more than the Europeans whom you spend so much time with & so admire. People CHOOSE to wear helmets in the US not because of “business interests” but because we make an individual decision based on logic.

James S - 08/16/12 - 2:00pm

Americans are too fearful and cheap and will stick to styrofoam hats while Europeans and Asians will just get on their bikes and ride without any safety gear at all. There is no way that this thing will sell even if the price is reduced by a factor of 4. Think about it – to an average American, the bike itself should cost way less than $600. Most of the “hardcore” cyclists are brainwashed into believing that bike helmets are magical and if you touch a bike without one your head will explode.

Psi Squared - 08/16/12 - 7:31pm

Wow. There are a lot of comments–anti-helmet and pro–that completely lack any proof or critical thinking. There are a lot of people that choose helmets for solid reasons that don’t involve brain washing or fear. A lot of those people have no illusions about their helmet being “magical”.

WannaBeSTi - 08/16/12 - 8:51pm

I think it is innovative.

While it would suck to crash my $600 helmet, I’d be happy if I was able to avoid death or rolling around like Stephen Hawking.

Charles - 08/16/12 - 11:31pm

@Psi Squared

But, but, my helmet IS magical!

This is probably one of the better innovations I’ve seen on here. Much better than most of those “Kickstarter” articles!

Alistair Williamson - 08/18/12 - 11:00am

Don’t forget, as other said it will get smaller, cheaper, lighter & more effective.
The Sony Walkman halved in size while still holding the same standard mechanical cassette, oh yes and it retailed for $200 back 30 years ago, coincidentally that’s the equivalent of approx $600 now.

I like it.

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