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Date: 10-06-12

Invisible airbag helmets enabled by ST's MEMS and MCU chips

MEMS and MCU chips from STMicroelectronics are used in an airbag fitted helmet which can be placed in a collar so that the helmet is nearly invisible. Whenever the shock is sensed by MEMS accelerometers they send the signal to MCU to release the airbag covering the head of the bike rider. The innovative helmet is designed by a company called Hövding.

The airbag is designed to inflate 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 bicycle riders can safely ride by using this safe and easy to wear helmet.

ST says the integrated sensors in the collar detect both linear and angular motion in all three dimensions and recognize 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.

The electronics in the Hövding helmet are managed by an STM32 microcontroller.

"In life-saving applications, you should never compromise on the choice of underlying technology," said Anna Haupt, founder and inventor, Hövding. "ST's market-leading motion sensors and microcontrollers, with unbeatable performance and minimal power consumption were a perfect match to our exacting design needs. Encouraged by the successful cooperation, we are now exploring additional possibilities with ST for improvements in next-generation helmets."

"The Hövding helmet is an excellent example of how state-of-the-art design and technology combine to make a positive contribution to people's life," said Benedetto Vigna, Executive Vice President and General Manager Analog, MEMS and Sensors Group, STMicroelectronics. "Hövding's decision to rely on our sensors and control chips confirms our industry leadership and enabling role in the development of innovative applications that put technologies in new contexts for the benefit of society."

The Hövding helmets conform to EU safety regulations (CE-marked) and can be bought in Europe through www.hovding.com

For further information on the Hövding helmets see videos on http://www.hovding.com/en/film/

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