I love smart design, when you can just look at a product or service and be able to see the methodical, thorough, detail-oriented thinking process that went behind it, aimed at solving a problem, innovating, and disregarding convention. The invisible bike helmet from the Swedish company Hövding (don't look at it yet) is that kind of a smart product.
The project started as an industrial design master thesis in 2005, when Anna Haupt and Terese Alstin, decided to “improve” (reinvent if you ask me) the bicycle helmet in such a way that “adult cyclists would voluntarily start protecting their heads on the roads without the law ordering them to do so”. Because, you know, helmets are not very attractive, and neither is one’s hair after wearing them. Plus, bike safety has got to be an important issue in a country, which is fourth in the world in cyclists per capita.
After winning a grant and a good amount of venture capital for their innovative idea (which literally rendered one of their professors speechless), the girls entered an extensive research and testing phase. They compiled a comprehensive database of every single type of accident that could happen to a biker, simulated it in a controlled environment, developed their product in collaboration with another Swedish company and did tons of testing to ensure that no matter what happens, your head will be safe.
I’m not going to describe the helmet to you and deprive you of the “That's Niceeee!” moment you’re about to experience following the 7-year R&D journey of Terese and Anna (it makes the story so much better to me that the helmet was invented by two entrepreneurial girls). Best thing of all – it’s not just the next concept for a never-to-be-produced, potentially great product. It’s already being sold.
Watch the video and enjoy the brain boost trying to solve the puzzle of “Where’s Helmet?”
“It's chicken to be a realist!”