Here is a connected airbag vest for skiers that could come in very handy given the number of, sometimes very serious, injuries that occur every ski season!
The polyamide Airbag Ski vest developed by Annecy-based company In&Motion, and manufactured by its Swedish partner Poc, is intended initially for high-level athletes. Having received approval from the International Ski Federation (ISF), it can currently be found on 45 athletes taking part in the Skicross World Cup, and will be available for expert skiers to buy at shops in the summer of 2016.
In practice, it is a vest to be worn under the ski suit and which, through on-board technology, automatically inflates in less than 100 milliseconds, in the event of a fall in order to protect the upper body (neck, chest, spine, abdomen and hips). The system's electronics are contained in the In&box (a box placed in the back), a piece of concentrated technology that acts as the airbag's "brain". It includes the sensors and the algorithm. The latter is able to detect an irrecoverable imbalance and to anticipate an impact. It analyses the data from the various sensors and sends a command to the airbag to be inflated in record time. The algorithm's accuracy is intended to increase with use. As more users make use of the vest, the data collected will be richer and the algorithm will be refined. This approach enables the fall detection system to gain in accuracy over time.
The protection is unrivalled and is optimal on the large and determining areas that are the neck, chest, spine, abdomen and hips. The test helped to meet current standards by providing energy absorption that is four times higher than that provided by a standard back protector. The system can be re-used after having been deployed. The uptake rate for the airbag ski vest has been extremely positive and has already led to In&Motion considering developing this high tech protection for use in cycling and motorcycling, as well as for construction workers working at heights and elderly people, as a brace.