Friday, April 30, 2010

Impress The Ladies, Intimidate Your Rivals With The New Alpinestars Tech Air Racing Suit

Imagine yourself walking down pit lane, heading toward the grid, when your hated rival appears. You both stop and square off like two gunfighters in the Old West. The clash of wills begins, each of you straining to psych out the other, when suddenly—poof!—your upper chest and shoulders swell like the Hulk’s. This display of strength so demoralizes your opponent that he slinks back to his trailer, beaten before the green flag even drops. You continue your triumphant march to the starting line with an adoring umbrella girl on each arm.
 Or, and this is what Alpinestars had in mind in the first place, you highside during the race and hit the deck, but not before the built-in computer in your suit senses impending disaster and inflates a protective air bag, all in less than 60 milliseconds.

The air bag’s computer lives in the hump on the back of the suit, along with batteries and a couple of cartridges filled with compressed nitrogen. There are two nitrogen cartridges in case you crash, get up and remount, and then crash again; the air bag deflates automatically and rearms itself a minute after going off the first time.

Alpinestars has been developing the Tech Air for 10 years, with several MotoGP riders doing on-track testing and data-logging to refine the computer’s ability to detect pre-crash conditions. The company hopes to have the system ready for racing by summer of next year. The price tag is steep—about $2,500, not including the racing suit. Alpinestars wants to make the technology available for street and off-road riders in two or three years; the hang-up is the development of computer algorithms for those two types of riding, where the pre-crash indicators are different from those found on the track.  

1 comment:

  1. did they test these things? Any survivors?