Olympic gold medalist Lindsay Vonn took a gruesome fall in the alpine skiing world championships in Schladming, Austria, in February, suffering serious knee damage and a broken leg. The trend in skiing, as in swimming, running and auto racing, is more and more speed. Dainese & AGV, Molvena, Italy, develops protective gear for athletes who are accelerating, whether on motorcycles, mountain bikes or surfboards. The company is fine-tuning a new product, the D-air® Ski system, hoping to introduce greater safety into the Sochi 2014 Olympic games.
Dainese first monitors athletes performing, and the company has monitored 160 runs under different conditions by different skiers. The data collected helps define when a wearable air bag should be deployed to best protect the skier from serious injury. The “deployment algorithm” developed through the research will allow the D-air to distinguish accurately between body positions that happen in normal race situations and body positions that signal a fall.