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Actively controlled ski bindings contain a transducer, which converts physical variables into electrical signals. The transducer signals are then processed by an electronic controller. When binding release is warranted, the controller emits an electrical command to an electromechanical binding, which releases the boot from the ski. This paper surveys the various actively controlled binding designs that have emerged, Although loading between the boot and ski is the physical variable common to all bindings, these bindings differ in the manner in which transducer signals are processed. As a result, the bindings are categorized according to the following signal-processing techniques: (1) first order, (2) impulse calculating, (3) biofeedback, and (4) model reference. At least one binding in each category is discussed in detail. The discussion includes an examination of the transducer and release mechanism as well as a schematic of the controller. The discussion evaluates the advantages of actively controlled bindings over their mechanical counterparts. A conclusion from this discussion is that actively controlled bindings eliminate many problems typical of mechanical bindings. Because of their advantages, actively controlled bindings offer potential in reducing the frequency and severity of skiing injuries.
snow skiing, ski bindings, electronic ski bindings, skiing safety, skiing trauma
Hull, Maury L.
Associate professor, University of California, Davis, CA