I love watching the Olympics, but I do get nervous when I watch some of the more dangerous sports. I always worry that one of the athletes might suffer an epic crash.
The skiers can worry a little less thanks to inflatable safety suits they wear. The Italian company Dainese developed the airbag-equipped safety suits that are designed to inflate in the event of an impact. Downhill skiers regularly reach speeds of 80 to 90 miles per hour, and sometimes top out at more than 100 miles per hour. At these speeds, crashes can fatal.
The technology is being worn by competitors from the Austrian, Italian, Canadian, and American teams.
It's called the D-air system. The protective vest contains multiple sensors, accelerometers, and gyroscopes. It's all carefully calibrated and sewn into the suit to detect when a racer is losing control and about to crash. The system has only fractions of a second to distinguish among these various forces and detect when a crash is imminent. Once it detects that a crash is imminent, the D-air vest works just like an automobile airbag, inflating in precise areas of the skiers' back, neck, collarbones, and the back of the skull, which can cause the most catastrophic injuries on impact.
Wow! Gotta love technology...