IN EVERYDAY LIFE
D-Air Lab designs, develops and manufactures dedicated personal protective and safety equipment, leveraging the expertise Dainese developed during 50 years’ innovation in the sports world, with a special focus on D-air® airbag technology for protecting the human body, widely used in motorcycling, MotoGP and ski racing. D-Air Lab transfers this sophisticated technology to everyday life situations where protection is needed, creating “Intelligent Clothing”. Intelligent clothing protects without the wearer being aware of it, only triggering to cover the areas protected when necessary. Its design combines the ability to control air, directing it only to where it’s needed, with intelligent algorithms able to identify the right moment to trigger, ergonomics that make the clothing comfortable and practical to use, good looks in terms not just of styling but acceptability, and lastly the intelligence of hands, which is to say the ability to actually create what has been designed.
Transferring airbag technology from the automotive world to the human body required important changes to make it “wearable” without any hazards for the wearer. An airbag inflates at such speed that if not controlled it can cause injury rather than protecting. D-Air Lab designs the pneumatic system using sophisticated software to simulate the impact of every different aspect on its behaviour, from the choice of air generator to the shape and thickness of the airbag and its internal fluid dynamics. Every parameter undergoes a large number of simulations followed by real-life tests to choose the combination that gives the best inflation time and protection. At the same time, it’s also essential to make sure there are no wearer hazards even when the airbag inflates in conditions other than those envisaged. This characteristic, known as innocuity, is tested by deploying the system in situations that reproduce the scenarios being investigated. Analysing the resultant data allows us to verify the airbag has the right balance of effectiveness and innocuity, which is ultimately what allows one describe an airbag as truly safe.
The triggering algorithm is the “brain” of the system, being the mathematical function built into the firmware that interprets the sensor data and decides whether to trigger the system. Performing a series of very fast calculations (completed in just a few milliseconds), the algorithm needs to be able to reliably understand whether the dynamics of the wearer’s body are normal or will lead to a fall. D-Air Lab designs predictive algorithms that are able to recognise an event before it occurs. We do this using a sophisticated procedure known as Context Analysis, benefiting from the expertise acquired in D-air® projects in the sports world and an understanding of the special dynamics of the human body in its interactions with the environment in question to translate this into the function the algorithm performs. Context Analysis allows us to obtain robust algorithms capable of discerning effectively between normal dynamics and pre-accident situations with the aim of only triggering inflation when needed.
Even the most protective personal protective equipment in the world would be useless if it were uncomfortable or troublesome to use because no one would wear it. The ergonomic design of personal protective equipment thus plays a highly important role in reducing its impact on wearer comfort and habits to a minimum. D-Air Lab can draw on the vast experience it acquired with Dainese in protecting the human body in sports, where exceptional attention is focused on every aspect that can have a negative impact on performance. Effective ergonomic design thus needs to ensure freedom of movement, balanced and technically correct positioning of the components and the maximum possible thermal comfort.
The styling of intelligent clothing has to consider more than good looks since its goal is to ensure that even the most reluctant adopt it, and this can in the most challenging cases make the device “invisible”. Some people don’t like wearing anything that suggests a problem, such as one’s health, for example. That’s why D-Air Lab sees styling as closely linked to acceptability. Concealing the presence of a protective device in “clothing” requires in-depth technical knowledge that D-Air Lab has acquired during its many years’ experience in the racing world, where the uncompromising pursuit of performance requires the technical equipment and airbag to be a single, tightly-integrated whole.
THE INTELLIGENCE OF HANDS
The “intelligence of hands” is the high-level craftmanship refined over years of making protective equipment that enables us to transform a D-Air Lab project into an actual product, able to perform its assigned tasks. Making a wearable airbag involves bringing very different materials together with a high degree of precision, combining soft components such as backing fabrics with hard components like gas generators, electronic control units, electrical connections and pushbuttons. This takes men and women who understand the processes, machinery and tools required, from the most modern to the most traditional. It is their skilled hands that bring the mosaic of materials and technologies in Intelligent Clothing to life.