h a l f b a k e r y
It's as much a hovercraft as a pancake is a waffle.
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I have taken a keen interest in the recent Mars explorations, by both the UK and the US. Although the UK probe never returned any data, I still believe it is "alive".
Space exploratory probes have, since 1997, taken on a new form of planetary decent. Airbags play a very important part in absorbing
much of the impact when landing. It's not too large a leap of thinking to assume the same could be used by us.
I'm not saying parachuters should start jumping out of planes with a few air-bags strapped to them.
I believe the technology of space probes could be used to help protect a certain demographic of society from accidental death from relatively large falls. Such people would include rock-climbers.
Upon freefall, away from a rock face, the airbags would calculate the rate of descent and also the approximate distance from sea-level where the user last zeroed the altimeter. Once an unacceptable rate of descent was reached along with a low enough altitude; the airbags would deploy, encompassing the climber in a protective bubble, thus assuming that the rope/holds had failed.
application for motorcyclists, by [hollajam] [krelnik, Oct 05 2004]
AirBagz for Clothing
application for drunks, by [DrBob] [krelnik, Oct 05 2004]
Air Bag Suit
application for the elderly, by [MickyDread] [krelnik, Oct 05 2004]
for bungee jumpers [skinflaps, Oct 05 2004]
||// I still believe it is "alive". //
The MER missions bags are really only there to protect them from a fall of about 30 feet or so. They have retro rockets and chutes slowing them way way down long before the bags deploy.
||Maybe just have a cord to pull that would deploy the bags so you could control the timing. (maybe the package could provide a clean pair of pants too.)
||Add a chute and you have base jumping...
||Even if the airbags worked, the forces on the human body might be fairly formidable
||We've done personal airbags several times before for other applications, see links.