You can probably guess how it works: A rechargeable pack with a gyroscope is plugged into the rigid spine cover at the back of the vest. The hardware is connected to a small gas cylinder that can be triggered at a moment's notice, such as when the algorithms detect that the wearer is about to land awkwardly. If that happens, the whole thing will inflate to protect the chest, abdomen and spine in the hope of cushioning the fall. In addition, two L-shaped straps protrude out to try and guard your hips against any injuries that could threaten mobility. If there's an issue, it's that the device is 800 grams heavier than conventional safety technology—anathema to an athlete obsessed with weight-shaving.
Inflatable clothing for winter sports has existed in various forms, although more in fiction than in reality. (You may recall Pierce Brosnan's inflatable ski jacket from The World Is Not Enough.) That said, the North Face launched a pioneering backpack that inflated to protect climbers in avalanches back in 2011. The technology proved lifesaving for professional skier Elyse Saugstad just a year later.
The vest is currently in testing with various professional skiers, and the company plans to have the gear ready for July 2016. Whereas existing safety devices will set you back only $300 to $400, the first-generation In & Motion is expected to cost $1,200. Thankfully, the gear will be reusable, and apparently it is reasonably easy to swap out spent gas canisters—although you will have to replace the vest entirely should it become damaged beyond repair. Still, if it's a choice between a few extra bucks and a long time in the hospital, the decision's a bit of a no-brainer.
Dana Wollman photographed a man's butt for this report.