Parlor Spider...Step In, Little Fly

Insightful thoughts and/or rants from atop the soapbox from one who wishes to share the "right" opinion with everyone.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Safety Is Everyone's Concern

Back in the day, we were forced to ride our bicycles all over creation without the safety net of having a helmet. Heck, I think motocycle policemen were the only folks I ever saw wear a helmet. Seatbelts? HA! Only sissies wore that kind of thing...though windshield manufacturers probably had a heyday back in the day.
These days, however, it seems we have safety devices for just about everything. My iron shuts off if I don't iron something for five minutes. My auto has more seat belts, backup cameras, fog lights and air bags than any ten thousands Cadillacs or Benzes had back in the day. All designed for safety, of course; mostly, I guess, because we're too busy texting or surfing the web or yakking on our cell to be concerned with mundane things involving safety. My pet peeve, though, is seeing parents riding a bicycle down the street with a child or children: everyone has a helmet except the parent! I want to shout, "Who's going to care for your kids when you have an accident and have a traumatic brain injury? Ever think of that?" I control my inner voice, but I certainly DO shout it to myself. That's why I'm applauding Swedish designers Anna Haupt and Terese Alstin for coming up with the first bicycle helmet folks might actually wear. Much like an airbag, it inflates just prior to any serious head injury being incurred.
It's called "Hovding" which is Swedish for "chieftain," and it contains gyroscopes, accelerometers and other electronic sensors that can sense an imminent crash and activate the helium inside to inflate in less than one-tenth of a second...thereby protecting the melon from serious damage.
Prior to the crash, it looks like nothing more than a poofy collar on a ski jacket so one's hair can remain perfect and comes in either basic black or in a stylish paisley pattern (more models to follow). The "helmet" also comes with a "black box" similar to the ones airplanes use; the box records the cyclist's actions for 10 seconds before and during the crash event. Data derived will be used to make the Hovding even better.
The only issue right now is cost: about $600. But there's gyroscopes and other science stuff, for goodness sake!
Sadly, though, this helmet protects a rider no better than a traditional one during my patented "faceplant" maneuver.
No idea whether this will be a featured item at the local IKEA.


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