A high-tech air bag meant to improve safety in ski racing was presented by the International Ski Federation and the manufacturer, two years before its planned introduction at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
The D-air system inflates air bags under the race suit in case of a crash, helping to protect the skier’s back, chest, shoulders and collar bones.
FIS and Italian motor racing manufacturer Dainese teamed up a year ago and presented the initial results of the D-air Ski project last week, the aim of which is to investigate the potential application of air bag technology to top-level Alpine Skiing.
“Research is well under way since last season, seeking to define the exact point at which the racer is no longer in control and a fall becomes inevitable. Since this is such a complex matter, whilst much data has already been gathered, further information is still needed,” said Günther Hujara, FIS Chief Race Director for the men’s Alpine Skiing.
The project is currently in the data collection phase which involves several World Cup athletes, including overall champion Aksel Lund Svindal (NOR), Norway’s Kjetil Jansrud and Italy’s Werner Heel, have been assisting in the development of the system.
The ergonomic tests with participating athletes began with the definition of precise instructions concerning the shape of the bag and the positioning of the gas generators. More than 70 descents have been monitored so far, the details of which have already been used to develop the electronic and pneumatic sections simultaneously and in close involvement with the athletes.
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