Concept for a downhill skiing spine protection that uses active soft-robotics to mitigate injury while remaining flexible for dynamic athletes.
While professional and collegiate alpine skiers should wear sufficient spine protective equipment, often they do not. For skiers to effectively perform in downhill speed and technical disciplines they need to have full range of motion with their body. By not wearing proper protection they are sacrificing the safety of their body. Some protective equipment reduces their maneuverability due to the equipment's tight fitting and restrictive properties, this can be seen in some spine protection. The problem that will be addressed in this project is to effectively protect the skiers spine without decreasing their maneuverability.
This protective garment is comprised of a soft-robotic main column that is secured in place, on the spine, by an athletic fabric vest. In an event of a fall that could lead to injury, the soft robotic spine protector will activate and prevent the spine from hyperflexion, hyperextension, and provide additional impact protection.