Alpinestars, a manufacturer of raceware for Formula 1 race car drivers, is reportedly looking into incorporating biometric sensors into the overalls worn by drivers in an effort to find ways to help them perform better for longer periods of time.
Biometric sensors are already fitted into the gloves worn by most racers. A tiny sensor in the thumb of the gloves collects biometric data such as the driver’s pulse rate and blood/oxygen levels, and sends it to F1 medical officials for analysis in the event of an accident.
“The idea will be to introduce something similar on the overalls as well,” Aplinestars’ product developer Chiara Consarino told Motorsport.com in an interview. “I know there have been some discussion inside the FIA, and if this is something that could be introduced on the balaclavas or the suits… [t]hat’s our focus.”
The aim is to introduce sensors into the overalls, underwear and other apparel where they will be able to collect data about the driver’s stress levels, their body temperature and vital functions. This data can then be used by a race team to gain a better understanding of where comfort can be improved, a vital factor in what is an incredibly high-stress profession.
Alpinestars has some experience in the field of biometric sensors in the racing world, having previously outfitted parts of some motorcycles in the MotoGP grand prix motorcycle racing circuit.
“We had a fully equipped physiological sensing system, as well as the electronic system for the actual airbag,” commented former Alpinestars commercial manager Jeremy Appleton. “We were able to look at heat mapping the rider’s body, which gave us some really interesting clues about ventilation through the suit, how to reorganise the venting and particularly getting rid of the hot air,” he added.
The heat and physical sensors Alpinestars outfitted the motorcycles with provided a wealth of data regarding heart rate, body temperature at various points on the body, and the stress on the body from force due to breaking and accelerating.
“The teams can adapt the motorcycle to how the rider feels, but then there is an extra level of confidence that you can measure with the biometric data that we could collect, which goes beyond what even the rider feels,” said Alpinestars CEO Gabriele Mazzarolo.
May 27, 2020 – by Tony Bitzionis