POC Incorporates Airbag, Smart Detection Technology Into Protective Vest For Ski Racers
Software, Competition, Hardware /
In its latest effort to do all it can to save lives and reduce the consequences of accidents for skiers and gravity sports athletes, POC, a leading manufacturer of skiing and cycling helmets, apparel and accessories, has partnered with French engineering and wearable protection specialist In&Motion to launch a new airbag vest for ski cross and alpine racers. The Fédération Internationale de Ski (FIS) has approved the Spine VPD 2.0 Airbag, available to consumers in Fall 2016, for use in both disciplines.
The airbag system consists of integrated sensors and uses a precise algorithm to distinguish a crash or fall from the normal forces associated with ski cross or alpine racing. In order to detect a crash, the system keeps track of a skier’s movement by performing 1,000 analyses per second. When a fall is detected, the airbag inflates in less than 100 milliseconds to provide protection for the neck, chest, spine, abdomen and hips.
“At POC we have a clear mission to improve athlete safety and reduce the consequences of accidents, and for a number of years we have been exploring the potential of incorporating adaptive, smart protective technologies,” says Oscar Huss, head of product development. “In&Motion is a specialist in the design and conception of wearable protection systems that incorporate smart detection devices, so it was natural for us to partner for this vest, which marks a significant step in the evolution of skier safety.”
The Spine VPD 2.0 Airbag Vest, which will be worn this season by several professional ski cross and alpine racers, including POC team member and Canadian ski cross athlete Dave Duncan, is the latest addition to the POC Aid collection. POC Aid is one of the brand’s most ambitious initiatives to date, seeking to explore the possibilities of improving the level of safety for athletes through the use of digital applications and solutions. POC Aid combines proactive approaches—efforts to prevent accidents from happening—together with post-active solutions once an accident has occurred.
The Spine VPD 2.0 Airbag provides wide-spanning protection of the neck, chest, spine, abdomen and hips and offers up to more than four times better absorption capacity compared to a standard back protector. Once inflated, the system is reusable simply by replacing the inflator.
“We spent months analyzing accidents and trauma from ski crashes,” says Pierre-Francois Tissot, In&Motion co-founder. “This technology is ideal for alpine and ski cross racers as its intelligent technology is able to anticipate falls and protect vulnerable zones of the body before impact.”