10 Apr 2019
Skiing and snowboarding are high-adrenaline sports that come with inherent risks, with researchers estimating that 600,000 people are injured each year in the United States alone.
In order to protect the skier and minimise injury, a French company has devised a system which detects when an athlete is about to fall and activates an airbag which protects the body.
The ski airbag is the focus of an episode of The Tech Race, which explores the impact of the application of technology and science in sport, and which also features the development of the year-round ski jump, the impact of recreating outdoor conditions in a wind tunnel and the creation of a smart snowboard.
A company based in the French Alps has developed a system in which sensors detect a skier’s loss of balance, anticipate a fall and inflate in milliseconds to protect the chest, abdomen, neck, spine and hips.
While offering four times greater protection than the current dorsal gear, it can also provide key analysis, thanks to the transfer of data to understand the cause of the crash and verify that the airbag inflated correctly.
Athletes can also benefit as the data gives information about their trajectory, speed and distance by connecting to a mobile application and offering an analysis of their runs and jumps.