French company Helite has been selling wearable airbags in some shape or form for many years. Typically, it's targeted bikers, horse riders, light aircraft pilots and other people with dangerous hobbies. This year at CES, it's pitching the Hip'Air, a 2.2-pound belt that detects when an elderly person is falling and deploys an airbag.
A typical fall, a Helite spokesperson explained, takes 400 milliseconds. Using gyroscopes and accelerometers, the Hip'Air' can detect a fall within 200 milliseconds of it beginning. The belt will then begin to deploy its built-in airbag, which takes another 80 milliseconds.
Our managing editor Terrence O'Brien took a tumble for the greater good and the Hip'Air worked as advertised. It launches in Europe this March, followed by the US in September. At approximately $790 (plus $50 for each one-use gas canister), that's a lot of money to pay for peace of mind.
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