Alpinestars has introduced its newest Tech-Air airbag suit, a next-generation piece of riding apparel with extended protection for the rider's shoulders, back, torso sides, and hips. Alpinestars-sponsored MotoGP riders are already putting the suit to the test, and in due time, you can expect to see a similar technology trickle down into product intended for the general public.
Key to the Alpinestars Tech-Air airbag suit's new found level of protection is a one-piece airbag that's eight times greater in volume than the previous-generation bag and engineered to mesh with the contours of a rider's body (inflation volumes around the shoulders, back, torso, and hips vary to optimize protection). Alpinestars' microprocessor monitors the rider's movements via sensors located at the arms, legs, and processes data every two milliseconds, and when a rider loses control, the system releases a cold, pressurized, nitrogen-based gas mix with the aid of a small pyrotechnic charge. The system can fully inflate the airbag within 45 milliseconds. It takes 300 to 400 milliseconds to blink an eye...
Alpinestars explains the technology: 'When the rider is moving at speed on a motorcycle, the microprocessor samples the sensor data for any irregularities in rider movement or external forces acting upon he rider. These irregularities are defined by algorithms, which Alpinestars has developed, and the microprocessor commands. If these prediction parameters, in relation to what the algorithms define as a 'crash', are exceeded, the microprocessor will initiate the inflation of the airbag. The inflation trigger time is around eight milliseconds. This is the time takes to process data during the rider's initial loss of control, ensuring the rider is fully protected in a crash.'
We're excited to see the technology envelope being pushed on all fronts, and we'll be even more excited to see Alpinestars' new Tech Air suit unveiled to the public.