Alpinestars TechAir race suit available July 2011, $2500 over the "Race Replica"

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Astars-TechAir.gifShoulders and collarbones can leap for joy as Alpinestars unveiled its new electronically triggered safety airbag system for racers, giving a For Sale date of next summer. While using a similar approach to Dainese’s untethered electronic D-Air system in concept, the Alpinestars TechAir uses a patented dual charge, nitrogen-based gas mix placed in the hump that, when triggered, forces air into the airbags inserted into the shoulders. After the initial discharge, the bags stay at full inflation for over 5 seconds, then gradually deflate, allowing for a second discharge in the case of another accident in just 60 seconds.

Update: video and a couple additional photos below.
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The entire system is incredibly compact and light, adding just 500 grams to a standard racing suit. The TechAir focuses on what Alpinestars considers the most accident prone areas of the body, and reduces impact on the shoulders and collarbone from 19 kilonewtons as experienced with the “Race Replica” model down to just 2.2 kN with the TechAir, with a variance of + or -1 kN.

Alpinestars-TechAir-Analysis.jpgThe TechAir is a 6 staged system using sensors located in secret positions throughout a suit designed not to trigger unless a series of criteria are all met that meets a kind of mathematical definition of a crash. Here’s how it works.

During Stage 1 the sensors placed throughout the race suit record data and then that data is used for a diagnostic check.

The second stage is what is called the “arming algorithm.” Basically, the zipper must be fully pulled up, the rider on the bike, the engine running and the rider and bike in motion. Once all of those criteria are met, the TechAir is ready to be “armed.” The third stage is for “features,” which are actions or things like data or algorithms that are considered a crash as defined by the system. And these “features” can either come from a single sensor, some of the sensors, or all the sensors attempting to spot the requirements for a crash.

Stage 4 is for classifying. Basically, this is when the features reported from the sensors during Stage 3 are telling the TechAir’s system whether they think a crash is happening or not. The system then sorts all that information from the sensors and makes a decision if there is a crash or not. At this point, 2 milliseconds have passed from Stage 1.

During the fifth stage, the TechAir runs a post-classifier, a kind of last second buffer that asks the system, “Are you sure? You really think there’s a crash, right?”

Once these 5 preliminary stages are met, the TechAir will discharge. A full cycle for triggering the system happens within 8 milliseconds and the bags inflate in 50 milliseconds.

Alpinestars-TechAir-Airbag.jpgNot only has the company been quietly working on the system since 2003, Alpinestars sponsored MotoGP racers Casey Stoner, Ben Spies, Mihka Kallio and Dani Pedrosa are currently testing the system. Alpinestars has stated that its sponsored racers in several other championships will be phased in to help refine the TechAir throughout the current 2010 season as well. The TechAir will be sold already placed within a slightly modified version of the “Race Replica” suit currently for sale, with minute adjustments made to the shoulders for fitment.

Alpinestars-TechAir-Inflated.jpgBen Spies even raced with the system during this year’s Quatar opening round of MotoGP. Well, that’s what we were told the night before last over several rounds of shochu at the local izakaya down the street from the Torrance, CA headquarters. At least, that’s the way we remember it anyway.

  • brettvegas

    Nice.

    The technical stuff is over my head. I always think of newton-meters as how many boxs of fig-newtons it takes to reach a yard.

    heh.

    I have never broken a colarbone, but wince when a buddy gets one, good to see the alpinestar taking things seriously.

    Thanks!

    Brett

  • Sean Smith

    If I had 5 G’s to blow, it would be mine. I’d call up Parts Unlimited and back-order one the second they announced it for sale. So awesome…

    • David

      This is the way technology is headed and now you have a couple choices Astars, RS Taichi, and Dainese. We’ll have them all in stock at one point at 303cycle.com

  • http://muthalovin.com the_doctor

    Alpinestars TechAir: Your crash just got more technically complicated!

  • BL

    better hope i dont find those ‘secret sensors’ cause every time i have a 12mm in my hand, i’m smackin for one.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Grant Ray

      BL, that wouldn’t cause the TechAir to discharge. It’s much, much more sophisticated than that, even if you had superpowers and actually could whack a sensor on a suit moving at speed on a motorcycle. Because that’s exactly what you’d have to do.

      If one sensor reports the thump, it will also report a conflicting stable environment based off other simultaneous algorithms which the other sensors will accordingly verify, therefor overriding the “crash” you’re attempting to simulate.

      • BL

        i’m sure the guy in the suit would be saying the same thing….WHACK!

  • Trojanhorse

    Let me guess…Musha?

  • meatsmasher

    Cool for the racetrack pointless for the street. All the “crash data” is acquired on the track where crashes are a lot different. Too bad i can buy a complete trackbike for the cost of the suit!

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Grant Ray

      meatmasher, it’s a race suit. It’s not really meant for the street, which is why the system will only be offered in the range-topping “Race Replica” line and not available in any street gear.

  • peter
  • Mitch

    RS Taichi is about to debut their T-RAPS airbag systems in their top of the line performance jackets that replaces their GMX-Motion. I wonder how it’s triggered; I think it’s a much more basic system (a tether, probably.)

    • Shinigami

      It’s already for sale, I saw it at the Tokyo Bay Ricoland a couple weeks ago. It uses a tether.

  • brettvegas

    I bought a 75cc 2-stroke derbi last week(bull in a china shop story, urg!). You wring it’s little neck, wfo everywhere. Closest thing to track riding at leagle speed limits I have ever mucked about with. Very, very Fun. Cost $500 bucks less than that suit.
    Dunno what the MPG is, shitty, ya keep the engine at 9k-11.5k all the time. Probly 60-80mpg. Going 30mph with a screaming weed-wacker engine is damn cool.

    WTF would I want with a suit, when I can buy a whole ‘nother bike for less?

    Safty/shmafty. German police pistoles don’t have a stafty, just a Decocker.

    Heh

    Brettsky

    • Sean Smith

      You paid 4500 big ones for a weed-whacker on wheels? You sir, are crazier than I am.

  • brettvegas

    Mr. Smith,

    My greviose error, I lacked the Skill to even read this fine artical. Somehow I read that this hidiously overpriced jumper-suit was a bargain at 2.5k bucks. Beleave me when I say I am truly sorry for such a departure from good reading edicuit(sp?). I assure you that such errors will(probebly[sp?])never happen again. Most likely.
    Umm, yeah.
    Realy.

    Ahem.

    cough

    Oh, to be clear I paid 2k bucks for the little derbi, far far too much,but better than paying half for nothing, for which I am thankfull. To no one in particular.

    Thank you for your time, and the chance to clear up this obvious error on my part.

    Brettsky

    • Sean Smith

      I kinda figured. 4500 bucks for a derbi would have to be some sort of record. Or something.

  • Chris

    The most important question has – surprisingly – not been asked.

    Can the charges be replaced? If so, How much does it cost to be replaced? Also, if the can be replaced, can I replace the charges on my own or do I need to pay to have it done?

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Grant Ray

      Chris, the details haven’t be completely worked out as the system is still undergoing final development, but you definitely aren’t replacing the suit after both discharges have fired.

      Alpinestars has stated that the suits can be taken to authorized dealers to recharge the TechAir. Think of it more like a battery swap, or going to the gas station to refill the tank. I don’t even think you need to replace the bags as they’re designed for repeated use.

  • concerned

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Algorithm

    please don’t use this word if you don’t know what it means…

    not to be a dick, but the article and comments get it ludicrously wrong and it makes me cringe

    it’s like saying “I pistoned the motorcycle so it would go faster”

    huh?

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Grant Ray

      The Oxford English Dictionary describes an algorithm as “A process or set of rules to be followed in calculations or other problem-solving operations, especially by a computer.”

      For simplicity’s sake, let’s change the name of these algorithms to rules, and let’s also say that if a rule is broken, then the sensor(s) sends a signal that it thinks a crash is happening.

      Once “armed” the TechAir runs through a very large, undisclosed amount of rules about every 2 milliseconds to determine if there is anything that meets a mathematically determined definition of a crash.

      A rider is wearing the TechAir race suit and going on his bike around the track at speed. If BL “whacks” a sensor from a hilltop with his terrorist sniper rifle, that sensor will relay a message to the TechAir brainbox that at least one or more rules have been broken.

      However, like I stated earlier, the TechAir has many many rules. Some of the rules apply to all sensors, some to just one sensor, and still others apply to only certain sets of sensors. Just because one sensor sends in a report that a rule has been broken will not cause the TechAir to discharge because of all the other rules that are still being met by the other sensors.

  • pepi

    How much it can cushion under a tight suit?
    And the neck still unprotected!

    This are first baby steps and even not worth the price.

  • Brettvegas

    Grant,

    Nicely boiled down. Systems with lots of ‘software’ always make me nervous. The ‘ravensclaw talon’ remote head that I currently work on has complex software running it. One ‘bug’ in one line of code, bad things happen. The software is far more propritary(sp?) than any of the mechanicals(the grunt work stuff that I work on).
    Jeff, the dude that wrote all the code, has been working on the same type of software for 20+ years. He still makes mistakes sometimes. We usualy(sp?) catch them before they go out the door, but..

    I don’t think I would want a safety suit from alpinestars, but I love my a-stars lumbar kidny(sp?) belt. Having a bug in the software unintentionaly(sp?) fire that thing while one was in a turn would suck big time.

    Entscheidungsproblem is now my favorite word, the wiki links led me there. Schadenfreude is going to have to take second place.

    Have a good day!

    Brettsky

    • BL

      Hey Brett, aren’t those lumbar/kidney protectors about 4″ thick?
      does it fit under your jacket?

  • brettvegas

    BL,

    Naw, pretty thin realy. Umm, 3/4″ perhaps a bit more. You get sick of riding all day with it though, a relief to take it off every now and then. Nice protector though, hard plastic lumbar, segmented.
    Pricy, seventy five bucks. I’ve got a cheap one from the local bi-mart($20) that breathes a little better. No armor to it though, not as good for riding.

    To further drive the point home, revolvers(five shot or six) don’t have ANY safty. Not even a decocker. You decock a loaded revover very very carefully. Safety is for folk that don’t know how to pull a trigger. I always tell folk, “If you want to be ‘safe’ don’t ride a motorcycle!”.

    heh

    fun thread!

    Brettsky

  • Trav

    While it’s obviously been stated that this is a top-end item, I would think if it became more available, it would be a little less shrouded in secrecy… and one might be able to replace the charges at home… like those little silver co2 cartridges

  • brettvegas

    Trav,

    Couldn’t agree more.

    Cheers!

    Brett

  • DC

    Is that a two image GIF? Haha. Whats the point of that? At least have it set up to do the robot or something.

  • rakesh

    can any one tell me which types of sensors and

    Accelerometers are used in techair suit