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A motorcycle rider has to make a choice: Wear a helmet and improve the odds of the cranium surviving a chance encounter with the pavement, or have one less bulky thing to lug around. The best of both worlds now comes in the form of a collar from the industrial designers and engineers at Hövding, in Malmö, Sweden, that instantly unfurls into a hood-shaped air bag when electronic sensors predict that a spill is imminent.
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Willie Jones is an associate editor at IEEE Spectrum. In addition to editing and planning daily coverage, he manages several of Spectrum's newsletters and contributes regularly to the monthly Big Picture section that appears in the print edition.