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Fast-to-unfurl cushion

January 13, 2003
An air cushion replaces a stretched canopy for rescuing people from high-rise buildings.

There exist many means for rescuing people from high-rise buildings: fire-escapes, special hoses, and, finally, helicopters. But arranging for the rescue works requires some time. What is to be done if every second counts?
A stretched canopy is still the simplest mean in this situation. Many people stand in circle and stretch the canopy. One can jump down from a great height and land without serious injuries. Today they use special cushions filled with compressed gas. Such a cushion can be quickly delivered to a necessary place, and it unfurls itself. There is no need for many hands to hold the salvatory flexible surface.
The requirements for such a cushion are contradictory. On the one hand, to speed up the cushion filling with gas, its volume must not be large. On the other hand, it is not safe to jump down on a small cushion. What is to be done?

This is how Russian inventors have resolved this contradiction.
There is no need to fill the entire cushion with gas. It is enough to provide flexibility and stability of its upper surface. A supporting frame made of air-tight hoses is sewn inside the deployable shell. The hoses are filled with gas. The frame gives the cushion form and stretches tightly its surface.
Thereby a huge shell can be unfurled very quickly. 


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Authors: Nikolay Shpakovsky, Elena Novitskaya