UEL student-inventor Charles has avalanche of ideas to rescue trapped skiers

UEL design student Charles Caldron with his 'skier rescue' ideas

UEL design student Charles Caldron with his 'skier rescue' ideas - Credit: UEL

An enterprising student at the University of East London is combining his passion for skiing and talent for design by inventing a unique safety device to help rescue skiers trapped in avalanches.

Charles Caldron, 21, thinks he has invented something that is reliable, user-friendly, and could save lives—thanks to GSP technology and his ski holidays and research trips to the Les Trois Vallées.

One lightweight ski pole module, with kinetic chargers running a printed circuit board, uses a skier’s mobile phone GPS signal to display speed, altitude and latitude on a small LCD screen.

The other is a rapid response module, powered the same way, with a silicon strap around the skier’s wrist. Inside is another GPS system connecting the skier to a satellite which is linked to the local mountain rescue base.

“Rescuers would send out a signal to the module when there’s an avalanche,” Charles explains.

“They know the skier is alive if the signal is switched off within a three-minute ‘window’.

“But if the signal isn’t turned off, it could mean the skier is in danger and needs help.”

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He plans to meet ski resort representatives to see if his product can be integrated with mobile phone apps for the live-feed ski pole module.

A skier buried under snow in an avalanche usually has about hour before risk of death when oxygen trapped in the snow runs out.

Charles, who studies BSc product design at UEL, grew up on skis, thanks to his parents who are both passionate skiers who took him on his first ski trip aged just two, with his own little pair of plastic skis as soon as he could walk.