We have been waiting for Dainese D-Air Ski from three years now but the good news is that the company has now revealed a near-competition-ready prototype to the world. This airbag will said to help save skiers from broken bones and injuries after a wipeout on the slopes. Dainese has used a clever array of sensors; the protective ski garment detects a crash and rapidly inflates around the skier’s upper body to protect from injury on the way down.
Using three accelerometers, three gyroscopes, and a GPS unit, the garment can inflate an eight-liter airbag in less than 100 milliseconds after a crash is detected. Having so much of hardware fitted in the jersey makes it bit bulky and adds more weight to it but when it comes to safety we are sure that it won’t be a point to keep in mind.
2014 Winter Olympics highlighted how unpredictable downhill skiing can be. It has been a year with warm temperatures and poor snow condition that was unexpected.
Dainese analyzed data from 283 downhill runs and over 700 minutes of skiers on the slopes to develop a custom algorithm that only triggers the airbags when a crash or fall occurs. Since the jersey-which makes it look like you’re wearing an ultra-thin backpack-is designed to be worn by even high-speed downhill skiers, it had to know the difference between the G-forces experienced in a turn versus a wipeout. And using all the sensors on board, it’s supposedly smart enough to only explode into action when it needs to.
“The D-air Ski algorithm deploys the system in all cases where the skier’s body performs twists which go beyond what would be considered normal race dynamics, for example forward, rear or lateral rotations during a jump or rolling over on the piste,” Dainese explains. “The algorithm only inflates the system when signals received from 7 sensors exceed a preset threshold. For example, in the event of a low speed slide not followed by rolling, the algorithm can decide not to inflate the airbag.”
The 1.8-lb (800 g), stretch-fabric D-air Ski is worn like a slim backpack, over the standard back protector but underneath the racing ski suit. It has an on/off switch on the front and an indicator LED for battery status. A USB serves to hook the D-air up for recharging the lithium-polymer battery and uploading data from its onboard memory.
“More than three years have passed since we approached Dainese regarding a possible cooperation on developing an airbag system for alpine ski racers,” Gunter Hujara, FIS Chief Race Director, World Cup Men’s explained at the Kitzbuhel reveal. “We had some information about such system being available in motorcycle racing and I had positive reports from some motorcycle competitors.”
“We have worked on this project a lot and the most difficult thing was defining the algorithm and finding the exact moment when an athlete is no longer in control and is no longer able to handle the situation. We installed the data collecting system in our training runs and at the end this was very helpful as we got a clearer idea of what really happens during an alpine ski racing run. The D-Air System seems to be almost ready now; we did some last tests recently and we had a meeting with the coaches in Val Gardena where the latest prototype was presented.”
Dainese has yet not revealed the pricing and availability, as he wants to make sure that system is as reliable and safe.
Via : Gizmag