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‘Invisible’ bike helmets use STMicroelectronics technology

Zafar Anjum | May 30, 2012
Bike helmets from Hövding rely on ST’s motion sensors and microcontrollers

Hövding, a Swedish design house, has invented an innovative airbag bicycle helmet that uses motion sensors and microcontrollers from STMicroelectronics (ST), a manufacturer of semiconductors.

"The combination of innovative design and state-of-the-art electronics has produced market-unique safety equipment for cyclists in a novel form factor," announced the two companies today.

The Hövding helmets are unlike traditional skull shells that bicyclists wear.

This 'invisible' helmet is a collar worn around the neck with an airbag folded inside. The electronics in the Hövding helmet are managed by an STM32 microcontroller - a control chip that makes sure everything functions reliably and on a minimal energy budget.

According to ST, this is what happens in a situation of accident: ST's motion sensors pick up the abnormal movements of a 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. ST also claims that these sensors recognise complex movements of the user with outstanding 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, said STM and Hövding in their joint statement.



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