In collaboration with the International Ski Federation (FIS), Italian retail firm Dainese S.p.A. developed the D-air®Ski, a device designed to improve the safety of alpine ski racers, specifically in speed disciplines.
The wearable device uses Dainese’s D-air technology, an intelligent protection system that detects dangerous situations and automatically inflates special airbags around the wearer’s body. A deployment algorithm analyzes data from various sensors and decides whether or not to deploy the system. Able to absorb 61 percent of the force generated by impact, it is fully integrated into an elastic vest that fits under the skier’s race suit and above the back protector.
The algorithm was written to meet specific requirements of alpine skiing and is the result of an analysis of data from the runs of the two World Cup seasons involving four federations, 26 athletes, 238 runs and 700 minutes of data.
Just ahead of the Beaver Creek Alpine World Championships, which ran through Feb. 15, Dainese performed its first simulation in real-life conditions with a production unit, aside from internal initial testing. FIS athlete Jan Farrell tested the device at a speed of nearly 50 mph, and when he crashed, the D-air Ski activated successfully, ensuring a safe injury-free fall.