Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Remote Triggering System For Avalanche Airbags developed

Date:
January 9, 2010
Source:
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
Summary:
Many people dream of skiing off piste in deep virgin snow. But their dream would rapidly turn into a nightmare if they were to set off a slab avalanche. Researchers have now developed a remote triggering system for avalanche airbags.

Two airbags stowed in a backpack give a skier good buoyancy and help protect them in the event of an avalanche.
Credit: Copyright ABS-Aschauer

The inviting expanse of shimmering snow contrasts with the benign blue sky above. The ski instructor briefly goes over the planned run, his first charge glides off into the distance … and sets off a slab avalanche. The group all look on helplessly as their friend is buried under a wall of snow. Bernhard Budaker of the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA knows this kind of scenario is all too common. But researchers at the Institute recently developed a new avalanche airbag system for ABS Peter Aschauer GmbH, in which an electronic unit ensures a ski instructor or friend of any similarly hapless individual can remotely trigger the airbag stowed in their backpack.

Related Articles


The product went on sale in December 2009. Avalanche airbags have been in use for over a quarter of a century. A simple tug on the activation handle will inflate two airbags stowed in a backpack. The massive extra volume they create gives the body additional buoyancy -- the skier is no longer buried under the snow.

To date, however, the problem has always been that skiers have had to activate the airbag inflation system themselves. "If skiers fail to notice in time that they've set off an avalanche, the airbag won't help them," says Budaker. But now the IPA group manager and his team have replaced ABS's manual activation unit with an electronic system, and fitted a new trigger: "We've redesigned the activation handle to incorporate a number of electronic components, so airbag inflation can be initiated by other members of a skiing party as well. It will be perfectly easy to retrofit all the old-style backpacks with the new system."

When the traditional activation handle is pulled, it creates a pressure wave in the tube, which punctures a gas cartridge and causes the airbags to inflate. In the new system, a pyrotechnic element is used to ignite the gas cartridge. As Budaker explains, the electronic solution offers the advantage of allowing all the airbags carried by a particular skiing party to be networked: "We transmit on 868 and 915 Megahertz. The optical application programming interface permits specific groups to be defined. Group members simply need to touch all their handles together for them to become a unit."

One option is for the ski instructor to be designated the "master," his charges the "slaves" -- in this case, only the master can trigger the others' airbags. Alternatively, all members of the group can be designated masters and help each other in an emergency. The activation signal currently has a range of between 350 and 500 meters, but this distance can be extended, given that every group member effectively acts as a relay station -- as each trigger handle passes on the signal.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. "Remote Triggering System For Avalanche Airbags developed." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 January 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100108114723.htm>.
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. (2010, January 9). Remote Triggering System For Avalanche Airbags developed. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 6, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100108114723.htm
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. "Remote Triggering System For Avalanche Airbags developed." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100108114723.htm (accessed March 6, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Friday, March 6, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Late Winter Storm Wreaks Havoc Across Eastern US

Late Winter Storm Wreaks Havoc Across Eastern US

AP (Mar. 5, 2015) — A strong cold front moving across the eastern U.S. has dumped deep snow in some regions, creating hazardous conditions from Kentucky to New England. (March 5) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Keurig Co-Founder Says Company Has A Waste Problem

Keurig Co-Founder Says Company Has A Waste Problem

Newsy (Mar. 5, 2015) — Keurig co-founder John Sylvan told The Atlantic he doesn&apos;t even own a Keurig because they&apos;re too expensive and produce too much waste. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Tourists Visit Rare Grey Whales in Mexico

Raw: Tourists Visit Rare Grey Whales in Mexico

AP (Mar. 4, 2015) — Once nearly extinct, grey whales now migrate in their thousands to Mexico&apos;s Vizcaino reserve in Baja California, in search of warmer waters to mate and give birth. Tourists flock to the reserve to see the whales, measuring up to 49 feet long. (March 4) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Injured Miners Treated After Blast

Raw: Injured Miners Treated After Blast

AP (Mar. 4, 2015) — An explosion ripped through a coal mine before dawn Wednesday in war-torn eastern Ukraine, killing at least one miner, officials said. Graphic video of injured miners being treated in a Donetsk hospital. (March 4) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins