We’ve had airbags for years in cars, to protect drivers and passengers in crashes.
A while ago we did a show about inflatable airbag pants to protect motorcyclists if they fall off their bikes.
Now we have a story about inflatable airbag clothing that can protect people who aren’t in or on a vehicle!
This is the work of a startup company in China, and its designers said they were inspired to create the inflatable vests and belts after seeing an older friend who fractured their pelvis after a fall.
These kinds of falls can be extremely dangerous, and China’s population is trending older, so they spent five years working on a design that would protect vital areas like head, back and hips.
The technology inside the vests and belts analyzes the wearer’s movement at a rate of 200 times a second.
Like many smartphones and smart watches, the movement detection can recognize the signs of a fall, and when they do, the clothes start quickly inflating.
The designers say that inflation takes less than two tenths of a second, since a typical fall takes three tenths of a second.
The demonstration video shows just how fast that is.
It’s also disturbingly fun to watch the testers falling over and over into crash pads.
But the net effect is, by the time the person hits the ground, there’s already a cushion there for them to hit.
That means fewer serious complications from falls, and older people can stay safer, healthier and probably more stylish.
A little over a decade ago, Sara Rivers Cofield bought a dress from the 1880s at an antique store in Maine.
She not only found a secret pocket in that dress, she found a paper with some kind of coded secret message inside.
Analysts have just figured out that the code was a way to send weather observations over the telegraph without spending extra money on lots of words.
But why was that in a secret pocket?
Photo by Josh via Flickr/Creative Commons