Two Swedish women have designed an airbag helmet as a university project. It is meant for cyclists. Terese Alstin and Anna Haupt had their World patent application System and method for protecting a bodypart published as long ago as May 2007. Below is the main drawing.
The Hövding® (“Chieftain” in Swedish) is a collar containing an airbag, helium as the inflating agent, and a sensor including gyroscopes and accelerometers. It only looks rather like a helmet when inflated. A USB port is used to charge it, and the act of putting it on activates it. This is quoted from Wired in the Guardian article, Would you trust an airbag helmet ?
Priced at about £300, it is hoped that the helmet will be on sale in the Spring of 2013. The Hovding® website looks like a fashion shoot, reflecting perhaps the fact that the designers are women. The site mentions that there is a Swedish law that cyclists under the age of 15 must wear a helmet, and that there was the possibility of extending it to adults. This dismayed the inventors and many others, who thought helmets impractical, awkward, etc. The inventors said that the product needed to change, to in effect an invisible bicycle helmet. I was pleased to see this -- they were telling their story, accompanied by their photos.
This video clip shows the product in action.