Now that we solved the avalanche airbag debate in the other thread , I thought I'd throw this out there for debate. This is a new system from Switzerland I came across a couple months ago. It's similar to an airbag in that it's trigger activated and inflates via compressed air.
But it's not designed to keep you afloat. It's basically just an inflatable marker to make search and rescue that much faster i.e. bright-orange balloon floats on the snow, rescuer spots it right away, uses the attached cord to pull his way to the victim's location, and then digs.
I emailed Lou Dawson about it, and he was pretty skeptical, saying it's just like the balloons they used to use before beacons. He knows about 5 million x more about this type of stuff than me, but I think it seems like a valuable augmentative device. It's not meant to replace a transceiver or probe (or airbag for that matter), but just to offer an added layer of protection that could help. They haven't priced or released it yet, but a rep said it could cost about $100 to be integrated into jackets, backpacks, etc. So basically a $100 premium and you get a version of X jacket with this thing built in. For that price, I think it's a solid investment, assuming you don't use it to replace any standard equipment (which I could definitely see people doing).
Of course, if it pops or the cord snaps, it's of no value.
Here's a video and link. http://www.rotauf.ch/en