Can 'Yeti' cut the avalanche risk to thrill-seeking skiers?

Charles Caldron, 21, hopes ‘YETI’ will allow adventurous off-piste and heli-skiers (jumping out of helicopters onto the slopes) to get themselves out of the danger zone, should they find themselves trapped by an avalanche.

Thanks to some top GSP technology, design ingenuity, and countless ski holidays and research trips to the Les Trois Vallées, Charles thinks he has invented something that is reliable, user-friendly, and could save lives.

Using kinetic chargers to run a printed circuit board, one lightweight ski pole module, which sits on top of the pole, will use a skier’s mobile phone GPS to provide them with a live-feed of vital information, including speed, altitude and latitude via an LCD screen.

“The other module is a rapid response module, powered the same way, with a durable and lightweight silicon strap that goes around the skier’s wrist, explains inventor Charles, who studies BSc product design at UEL.

Inside the module is another GPS system that links the skier to a satellite which is linked to the mountain rescue.

“When an avalanche happens, the rescue teams send out an emergency signal to the module, with a three minute window,” says Charles, “If the skier turns off the signal within the window, the rescue team know the skier is alive. If, after three minutes the signal isn’t turned off, it could mean the skier is in danger and needs help. As the module is attached to the skier and sending out GPS signals, it will allow rescue teams to more easily find the skier.”

Charles has been skiing since age two and still skis at least once a year, and found an additional outlet for his love of the slopes with YETI.

“A good teacher at school introduced me to design and making things, and I just took to it, so this degree was perfect for me,” he says.

“Seeing helicopters scrambled to rescue trapped skiers, and people taken off the slopes on stretchers, including my own sister who broke her leg on a family ski trip, motivated me to find a way for skiers, especially those looking for that added adrenaline rush, to stay safe in the event of an avalanche or injury.”

Charles plans to meet with representatives of the major ski resorts to explore the possibility of his product integrating with resort mobile phone apps, for the live-feed ski pole module.

“I think it’s got great potential, and with some solid financial backing, I’d like to take it to market in the future,” he says.

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