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Airbag-equipped ski suit could save broken bones

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The Dainese D-Air Ski features a protective airbag that inflates only upon the event of a serious fall.

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Back in 2012, we wrote about Italian sports apparel brand D-Air Street, a motorcycle jacket that contains a hidden airbag that inflates upon collision. Now the company is back with the D-Air Ski, which features a protective airbag that inflates only upon the event of a serious fall.

The ski suit has been in development in the three years since Dainese agreed to adapt its D-Air technology for the slopes, in collaboration with the International Ski Federation. The suit has been designed to limit the effect on aerodynamics and is barely detectable when packed. Since skiing itself is full of bumps and fast turns, the system uses a complex algorithm to differentiate a hard landing from a serious tumble. According to the company: “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.” When deployed, the airbag takes around 100 milliseconds to fully inflate and covers almost all of the skier’s upper body.

The Dainese D-Air Ski was unveiled at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, but there’s currently no news about when the technology may be made available to consumers. If this technology can be applied to motorcyclists and skiers, could we soon see wearable airbags for mountain climbers, surfers, even skateboarders?



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