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The Wheel Thing: The latest in wearable tech? Airbags

A new
A new "wearable" airbag might make riding motorcycles a bit less risky.

You are 37 times more likely to die in a motorcycle accident than in a car accident – and nine times more likely to be injured. The U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) studies millions of traffic accidents, and that's what their data reveals.

Enter an Italian company called Dainese. They've designed a "wearable" airbag system for motorcyclists.  

For 40 years, Dainese has been making protective gear for motorcyclists, stuff that not only enhances safety, but looks cool, too. (After all, they are Italian.) They've designed special boots, helmets and back protection, so an airbag suit was probably the next logical step.

The system consists of two parts. One is mounted on the bike, the other is in a vest the rider wears. Bags are deployed if the bike collides with an object, or if it goes into a slide. The system protects the chest, neck and back.  It uses sophisticated sensors so it won't go off in a low speed crash or slide.

Dainese presented the first prototype of its cycle airbag 15 years ago.  It eventually deployed a system used primarily by racers, and in the fall, will begin selling a "street" version in the U.S. 

No pricing has been announced as yet, but Dainese sells a similar system in Europe for the equivalent of about $2100.