Technology Tuesday February 20, 2018

LUBBOCK, TX -- - Ski Airbags

Originally designed to protect motorcycle riders, this new airbag technology is being used by downhill skiers in this year's Winter Games.

Dainese is a wearable airbag that automatically deploys when it senses a crash. The Italian company built the technology into its motorcycle jackets and is now using the same technology, called D-Air.

Dainese's executive vice president, Roberto Sadowsky, explains how the technology works.

"It's one GPS, three accelerometers, and three gyroscopes all talk together a thousand times per second," he said, "and once they all decide that there is an imminent crash, they send a signal to the cartridge that inflates the bag.”

This ski version is being used by racers from the United States, Canada, Italy and Austria. The airbag fits into a protective back plate that sits underneath the skiers spandex suit adding 1.7lbs of extra weight.

Many times in downhill racing in skiing, you spent a lot of time in the air, but those are not the crashes. So, the algorithm had to learn the difference between an imminent crash and just a big jump,” Sadowsky said.

The airbag inflates in 45 milliseconds to protect the torso, shoulders and back. Dainese is also working on an airbag system for the elderly that could prevent injuries from falls.


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