CAPE TOWN - French airbag technology company, Helite has launched a human airbag belt, aimed at preventing falls in the elderly.
The R9 952 airbag, Hip’Air is a stuffed belt with sensors inside. The belt predicts when you are about to fall within 0.2 seconds. The airbag then inflates right above your hips to absorb the impact. The motorcycle airbag company says that their technology will likely work for other types of falls.
With a plastic buckle on the front, HipAir is reasonably light. The arrows on the belt tell you which way to wear the belt. If incorrectly worn, the belt gives off a beep. Hip’Air claims it absorbs 90 percent of the impact from a regular fall, whereas a regular hip protector supposedly only absorbs 10 percent of the impact. Although the Hip'Air has been tested by the company, the technology is still too new for a clinical trial.
Notably, the R9 952 belt is a steep difference in price to a standard hip protector which cost around R620.28. Also, the company will not be working with insurance companies which means that majority of people will not be able to afford it.
Despite this, the belt will be available for pre-orders in March which will first roll out in France. Falls are the second leading cause of accidental or unintentional injury deaths worldwide.