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Binding technology and knee injuries

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
I stumbled across this and am a bit fascinated.

I know knee injuries are a big thing for many Bears, so I wonder, if such a binding that is targeted to Saving the Knees is something that would be of interest.

I apologize if this has been posted somewhere and I missed it.
post #2 of 29
I've seen coverage, but as I understand it, there's relatively little descriptive information available, though -- just the claimed effects, not the technology itself. (I haven't watched the videos, just looked at the static stuff.)

Here's the patent application, which got allowed last week (which means it should issue fairly soon). I haven't yet reviewed it with sufficient attention to understand it, though.
post #3 of 29
That binding just has straight lateral release at the heel, just like the Line bindings. It is vaguely interesting, but as they said, the scenario they were testing is where the tibia is the lever for tearing the ACL, not the ski. So if the tibia is the lever then it doesn't matter if the ski is attached to your foot or not. A more realistic scenario is where leverage coming from the ski, in which case their binding will perform exactly the same as conventional bindings.

The fact that their web site says:
Quote:
22-million skiers worldwide. 2-million ski bindings sold last year. None are "knee-friendly"
makes me really skeptical. I think they are just scare-mongering with a rigged experiment which doesn't reflect real falls.
post #4 of 29
So, there is no release in toe piece? And heel is much higher than usual, and probably much heavier.
post #5 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by stekan View Post
So, there is no release in toe piece? And heel is much higher than usual, and probably much heavier.
There seems to be standard lateral release at the toe. They couldn't get DIN certified if they didn't have lateral release at the toe. There is no mention of vertical release at the toe though which is suspicious.
post #6 of 29
The thing that makes me most nervous about this, aside from the lack of track record, is the lack of a deep pocket to make things right if need be.
post #7 of 29
The inventor posted on TGR:

Quote:
Originally Posted by 5bind View Post
As the inventor and developer of the soon-to-be-introduced, KneeBinding, I'd like to respond to the notes in this blog.

Skiing knee-injuries are by far the #1 injury in alpine skiing, comprising approximately 22 to 25% of all types of skiing injuries. 'Phantom Foot' induced knee injuries accoount for approximately 65 to 70% of all skiing knee injuries. Phantom Foot induced forces cause ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) injuries. It is estimated that last season there were approx 17,000 skiing acl-injuries in the US; 24,000 in all of North America; and 70,000 worldwide. An ACL rupture typically costs approx $20,000 for diagnosis, treatment and rehab. This equals over $1-billion PER YEAR - and these costs do not include lost-work, early arthritis and skier attrition (skiers who don't return to the sport). Everyone who incurrs an ACL rupture never recovers to full athletic prowess. Skiing ACL injuries are frequent and severe - and deserve an engineering solution.

Recent research by U. Montreal (2003) has proven that lateral heel release will mitigate ACL injuries.

However, all previous forms of lateral heel release caused massive pre-release problems. Previous bindings with lateral heel release that pre-released include - Americana, Alsop, Burt, Besser, Gertsch, Eckl, Moog, Ramy, Cober, Head, and others... Each binding failed because skiers will not put-up with pre-release under any circumstance. As a former Can-Am downhiller who successfully competed in 80 mph races, pre-release is not an option for me.

That's why the new KneeBinding technology provides powerful retention, holding-power and edge control - while also providing lateral heel release, and it will meet all international safety standards ( DIN / ISO ). The new technology differes from all previous lateral heel release bindings via its patent-pending mechanical "Binary Filter" and "Progressive Cams" that block skiing-control forces from "confusing" the binding when it comes time to respond to ACL-injury forces (Phantom Foot forces). The lateral heel release is pure-lateral -- it only activates when the signature Phantom Foot forces enter the binding. And of course, it only activates above a selected lateral heel release setting value that's adjustable.

In the skiing video that's noted in the blog, we are showing that lateral heel pre-release does not occur even during normal skiing - and even when the lateral heel release is set at a low setting. We posted a sentence next to the intro to our video in our website that states what we are demonstrating, which statement does not show-up when the video is activated directly by U-Tube.

During normal use, the lateral heel release setting is much higher than what we're demonstrating - in order to deal with much more aggressive skiing than we show in the video.

As correctly noted above, Tyrolia Diagonal heels only release laterally at the heel AFTER they move upward, first -- in response to forward twisting events...they cannot release laterally at the heel in Phantom Foot events that include the simultaneous combination of: (1) backward-weighting; (2) inward-twisting of the upper leg (femur) relative to the foot; (3) abduction (abduction is lateral action of the foot relative to knee). The backward-weighting component of a Phantom Foot event needs a binding that releases purely-laterally at the heel, not upward, first.

(( Regarding clipless bicycle pedals -- I invented the world's first 'hands-off' clipless pedals (Chinelli required that you reach down and throw a lever to get in and get out). ))

The main point is that KneeBinding has been developed here where we live -- and where we ski almost every day -- in Stowe, Vermont. We've logged over 500,000 vertical feet of skiing on the binding this past winter with no pre-releases. We are skiers who love this sport - and this binding functions in order for us to enjoy our lifestyle. The website, kneebinding.com tells more.
post #8 of 29
This thread is useless without pictures (or video)

post #9 of 29
1. Does the toe release laterally too? 2. Is there upward release/compensation from the toe? 3. With todays ski manufacturing going more to "system" ski/binding combinations, how do these penetrate the market?
post #10 of 29
Quote:
However, all previous forms of lateral heel release caused massive pre-release problems. Previous bindings with lateral heel release that pre-released include - Americana, Alsop, Burt, Besser, Gertsch, Eckl, Moog, Ramy, Cober, Head, and others...
That is kind of like saying I have designed a car that is safer then the Chevvy Corvair.

I am still wondering whether there is vertical release at the toe or if they thing the heelpiece should be able to deal with all backwards falls.
post #11 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philpug View Post
1. Does the toe release laterally too? 2. Is there upward release/compensation from the toe? 3. With todays ski manufacturing going more to "system" ski/binding combinations, how do these penetrate the market?
1/ I think so but not 100% sure. If it didn't it would be dead in the water as it would not conform with DIN requirements.

2/ That is the big question, little mention of the toepiece at all.

3/ With extreme difficulty. With systems prevalent in the beginner - advanced range of skis it would be difficult without a total saturation of the retail space.
post #12 of 29
Epic,

Do you know this guy?
post #13 of 29
Thank you, all of you, for your good dialog.

The KneeBinding toe piece is an updated Geze 932 (which is in some ways similar to a current major-selling toe piece, but it is different within the toe cup). It provides upward tilting action. It is an awesome toe that scores high in all safety tests and performs outstandingly, on-slope.

As for the overall performance of this binding, pls note the following background that is parlayed to develop this binding: -- I worked as Gordon Lipe's helper while I was in high school during the late 1960's and early '70's (Lipe wrote the articles in Skiing magazine on bindings, he developed the Lipe Slider AFD, he developed the first "weight and ability" release charts - which correlated to his "Lipe Units" on his Lipe Release Check). In junior high school and high school, I competed at a fairly high level in SL, GS and DH as a member of the Cazenovia Ski Club Ski Team; in my senior year in high school, I co-developed what became the Salomon 555 ski binding, which was #1-selling world-wide for 5 years; during engineering and business school I competed in Division 1 college ski racing, typically finishing within the top 15. Also during college, I was one on the original members of the ASTM skiing safety committee; I conducted extensive research on bindings (one of the first to measure ski vibration, electronically - at Charles Stark Draper Labs in Cambridge, MA together w MIT Prof Larry Young, and was the first to measure total ski-boot-binding vibration); I also competed in the CanAm downhill racing circuit while in college and achieved 29 international FIS points where I raced on hand-made bindings that I could twist out of in the finish line. The present Dir of R&D at K2, Jim Vandergrift and current-WPI Professor Chris Brown were also at these finish lines where they watched me do this. Also, in college, I mounted and modified several hundred pair of binding-ski systems per year for my fellow racing buddies and for my college roommate's fellow ski instructors, who was the director of the local ski school. Immediately after college I became Sr. Product Manager at Geze ski binding company in Boston when Geze was worst-rated - and in 4 years we became best-rated (world-wide). During this time, I co-authored the IAS Recommendations together with Wolfhart Hauser, MD -- which recommendations became the DIN-System. Over the next 4 yrs, I was Director of Marketing for Geze in Burlington, Vermont - when Geze went from a 2% market share to a 20% share, profitably. During this time, I sole-invented and developed the world's first hands-off clipless bicycle pedal system, CycleBinding (which, within a short period of time had many competitors - and we remained #1-rated by Bicycling magazine, VeloNews, Outside -- and most importantly by our customers). Four years later, I sole-invented the first high-tech snowshoes and snowshoe bindings for Tubbs (who at the time was making only wood-framed snowshoes) and within a short period of time, Tubbs experienced extensive sales growth and the overall category of snowshoeing increased 50X. The snowshoes that I developed for Tubbs have been #1-selling for 16 consecutive years - with an 85% market share. During the development of both CycleBinding and Tubbs, I continued to ski, recreationally, with my kids here in Stowe, Vermont - and also competed successfully in cross-country skiing (member of the winning team of the 100-mile, 2-day, Canadian Ski Marathon). I also regularly ski back-country here in Stowe with my 23-yr-old son, who is a Sgt in the Vermont Mountain Infantry - in extreme conditions, sometimes at night. All of my products have high satisfaction among hard-core users and they have exceptionally low warranty-rates (less than 2%). All of my products go through extensive testing in the lab and on-slope before coming to market. In sum, my products work.

Presently, I am the Chairman of the Ski Binding Research committee of the International Society for Skiing Safety (ISSS). I have made 3 major presentations at the last two conferences (2 yrs ago in Japan and 3 months ago in Scotland) where I outlined the science that's behind KneeBinding. The leaders within ski safety research are with me on this. See the summary of the latest ISSS meeting that was posted 2 days ago at [http://www.ski-injury.com/lrn5.htm]. There is also extensive technology discussion about this binding - which is based on MIT-developed Axiomatic Engineering Principles....as can be reviewed in my patent application and noted in the above link that was posted by another blogger.

And yes, this binding cannot be anything but totally-real -- as it will pass all of the DIN / ISO standards according to the TÜV Testing Institute in Munich when production samples are available (our pre-testing at TÜV is highly positive) - It works.

I am parlaying all of my experiences that I have noted above to develop this new binding and bring it to market successfully. We plan to be the first successful American ski binding (all others have gone bankrupt) -- and we plan to radically reduce knee injuries. We are not fooling around and we will take the indusrty by storm with no hostages. We will introduce KneeBinding to the trade this winter (to a small, select grooup of specialty ski retailers in the US and Europe) and begin our first shipments in the late Fall of '08. We are closing on Round-1, Series-A equity at this moment....we have a team...and we will cause a major disruption in the market -- as I have done, before.
post #14 of 29
5Bind,

Welcome and I wish you the best of luck.
post #15 of 29
Hey Rick,
Nice to see you haven't given up the quest for a better binding. I was thinking the industry was going to let the knee injury problem fly by. I look forward to seeing and skiing the product. I have many customers who do question the safety of the knee and would probably stay in skiing or return if they feel better about the equipment.

Keep it up!

Rick Barton
Verticaldrop Ski and Snowboard (IL)
former Cycle Binding Rep/Perkins Co thru Barrecrafters
post #16 of 29
Thank you Philpug - and good to hear from you, Rick Barton !!

I will be pleased to respond to anyone's technical questions on the to-be-introduced KneeBinding technology....and in the meantime, the website, KneeBinding.com contains considerable information.

We are not showing images of the binding yet because she's not sytled yet....but we're working on that aspects at this time with a world-class sculptor. We are trying to insure that the styling will not cause any side-effects to the already proven function. We will be using non-hydroscopic engineering grade resins and all of the metal parts will be stainless steel. We have decided to take the high-route, thought the cost will not be low. We have not completely decided on price points....

As for the above notes ski compatability....yes, this will be a road-block to some extent, but we will be announcing an alliance with a ski company who produces excellent flat-top skis. Also, if someone is truly interested in this technology, every ski company produces models of flat-top skis -- and most retailers have some flat-top skis in their inventory (or they can order them for you). We realize this is an inconvenience, but -- again -- good flat-top skis ARE available. Most of the skis on the world-cup circuit are flat-top....and for entry-skiers who are price-conscious -- package-skis are available at most ski shops, most of which package-skis are flat-top. For an entry-level-skier, the combination of a flat-top package ski together with our new binding should yield a 'reasonable' price. Again, for others, good flat-tops skis can be found, everywhere. (( As a side-note, presently, if you blow-out an edge on your rail-system skis, you need to replace the ski AND the bindings.... With ala carte bindings - such as KneeBinding - only the ski needs to be replaced. This is considerably more 'convenient'.

I would also like to take a minute to discuss why - from an engineering perspective - the other lateral heel release bindings failed. In each case, those designers believed at that time (late 1960's - early 1980's) that a binding with more 'modes' of release was 'more safe'. This was misguided thinking because more modes of release means more pre-release IF THE MODES ARE CROSS-LINKED (IF EACH MODE IS NOT DECOUPLED) FROM THE OTHER MODES. Pre-release can be far worse than a non-release because pre-release can cause head and spinal injury. A non-release might cause a broken bone or a sprained or ruptured ligament. A head or spinal injury could be worse than a broken bone or ligament injury. Therefore, the first design requirement of a binding is 'retention', while the second design requirement is 'release' -- in that order. All of the previous American ski binding designers had the order reversed. Each of the present European ski binding companies have the order, correct (however, on major European binding company has significant pre-release problems at this time...). Therefore, the solution to adding one more mode of release (lateral heel release) to the already existing lateral toe release and forward heel release is to DE-COUPLE them.

Most of the old bindings with 'multi-mode' release had lateral heel release cross-linked with forward heel release; cross-linked with edge-control (roll); and cross-linked with ski flex (forward pressure). With those 'multi-mode' bindings of the past, when a skier edged on ice or applied a large forward load -- while a non-injurious lateral heel load entered the system -- the binding became 'confused' and pre-released. Skiers then cranked-up their settings (understandably) -- thereby defeating ALL of the cross-linked modes...causing the original intention of the designers to negated. With KneeBinding, each of the standard 6-degrees-of-freedom (fore-and-aft shear, lateral shear, vertical shear, pitch, roll and yaw) are decoupled from each other. Each degree-of-freedom (all 6) is a seperate system, independent of the other (as in good software design). Therefore, when you're edging hard on ice with a radically shaped ski, KneeBinding ski binding's forward release mechanism is uneffected and the lateral heel release mechanism is uneffected. Or, if you apply a large forward load, the lateral heel release mechanism is uneffected. 'Same w combined edging and forward loads. Same with ski flex - large ski flex does not cause the binding to pre-release. As for lateral toe loads - again - that's a seperate system, too. All of this is accomplished by the unique patent-pending design.

Today, many skiers (and even a few binding engineers who will remain un-named) believe that the retention properties of a binding are based completely on the DIN setting. This is wrong. One binding company recently introduce a new model for racers that goes up to DIN-30. What this binding company does not understand is that they have an inherent design flaw...and they are attempting to band-aid-over this design flaw by providing higher RELEASE settings (the release setting adjustments are mostly RELEASE settings)...((the binding companies who lobbied for the vernacular change "release-retention settings" has the inherent design problem)).

Most pre-release problems today stems from poor binding-design that cannot distinguish one load from another. And much of today's pre-release stems from the combination of improper cross-linking AND friction ("That 'Ol Friction Bugaboo" - Lipe; "On Friction" - Outwater). Racers who are experiencing pre-release or who have settings that are high and still have pre-release need to (1) de-grease and re-lube their heel tracks so that the heel unit can recoil after deep flex, quickly; (2) insure that there are minimal contaminates under the heel of their boot - to allow the sole to slide quickly back-and-forth on their heel pads so that the heel unit can press the boot solidly against the toe; (3) reduce their heel settings - because (ironically) excessively high heel settings increase the normal-force, downward, between the sole of the heel and the top surface of the heel pad, reducing the binding's ability to recoil after deep ski flex. Super-slow motion video analysis of racers exiting slalom turns shows how boots 'walk-out' of bindings without the toe or the heel ever 'releasing'. Surprisingly, many elete skiers today don't know the factors that effect ski-binding function.

Skiers who are attempting to change their ramp-angle via sole-grinding - then shimming are effecting the binding designers' planned pre-loads on the toe and the heel. If the toe is squeezed too much as a result of a bad shim-job, there will be too much friction in the toe piece -- and during multiple shocks (such as when skiing in chattery-ruts or over a cat-track), the toe piece will begin to move outward, but it cannot recenter quickly when this innocuous load disappears when there is too much friction. Overcoming 'too much frictin' by increasing the RELEASE setting does not solve the original FRICTION problem -- and it will adversely effect release. The solution is to reduce friction. By minimizing friction, a good binding design can recenter quickly during innocuous loads, while still providing intended release (best of both worlds). The key, however, is "a good binding design". Binding designs that have cross-linked functions can never provide lightning-like recentering no matter how little friction during the critical retention-events and release-events that cause pre-release and non-release.

That takes us back to the beginning: a decoupled (non cross-linked) ski-binding design; combined with low friction; 'intended' settings; and this one new mode of release (lateral heel release - that is now proven to bias Phantom-Foot-induced ACL-injuries) will provide the essential ingredients for our skiing requirements.
post #17 of 29
5bind - is the "Unon Binding Company" sign on Foster's Place yours?
post #18 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philpug View Post
Epic,

Do you know this guy?
I haven't met him, but Whiteroom has. I also haven't seen any of his bindings on the hill. I think I'd notice I usually keep my eyes open in the lftline.
post #19 of 29
The "Union" binding sign is for a snowboard binding company located here in Stowe. Our company name is "KneeBinding". We are an alpine ski binding. We are not on the market, yet. We will ship our first bindings in the Fall of '08.

You will not have seen our binding on the hill because prototype testing is done descretely. I ski Stowe almost every day. I am extremely active here in the Stowe community - and have lived here 18-years. My kids have gone all the way through the school system; I have been active in Stowe Rotary (twice on the board); and twice on the local Art Center board. We are here in Stowe and we have skied the binding over 500,000 vertical feet.

I am now off to mke the donuts.... We have much to do to bring this binding to market.
post #20 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by 5bind View Post
The "Union" binding sign is for a snowboard binding company located here in Stowe. Our company name is "KneeBinding". We are an alpine ski binding. We are not on the market, yet. We will ship our first bindings in the Fall of '08.

You will not have seen our binding on the hill because prototype testing is done descretely. I ski Stowe almost every day. I am extremely active here in the Stowe community - and have lived here 18-years. My kids have gone all the way through the school system; I have been active in Stowe Rotary (twice on the board); and twice on the local Art Center board. We are here in Stowe and we have skied the binding over 500,000 vertical feet.

I am now off to mke the donuts.... We have much to do to bring this binding to market.
OK, OK! Don't worry, I'm not saying I don't believe you. Just that you've beenvery "stealth". I'd love to see these things.
post #21 of 29
It seems you have put some serious thought into this binding. What are your thoughts on how this binding will react with wider skis? Will you have a removable brake, 1. for tuning and 2. for being able to adapt a fat brake. The rearward twisting fall will create a tremendous amount of down force, does the heel offer downward compensation.
post #22 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philpug View Post
The rearward twisting fall will create a tremendous amount of down force, does the heel offer downward compensation.
Will it? It's been my understanding that it actually takes very little force to tear an ACL. So if this binding works wouldnt it have to relese before "tremendous" forces could be generated.
post #23 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by epic View Post
Will it? It's been my understanding that it actually takes very little force to tear an ACL. So if this binding works wouldnt it have to relese before "tremendous" forces could be generated.
I think so, I could be wrong but I see more downward force force here than there is if it was a toe piece. Look at all the slidign AFD and Spheric type toes currently on the market that are designed to compensate for that type of pressure. In the rearward fall there will be a significant amount of force in the heel.
post #24 of 29
i got line binding. line binding can do the same.
line binding's problems are pre-release and heavy.
post #25 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by 5bind View Post
...a decoupled (non cross-linked) ski-binding design; combined with low friction; 'intended' settings; and this one new mode of release (lateral heel release - that is now proven to bias Phantom-Foot-induced ACL-injuries) will provide the essential ingredients for our skiing requirements.
Excellent, Rick, and thanks for trying to do something to prevent the thousands of alpine skiing ACL injuries that occur each year.

I can't wait to step into a pair of your bindings.
post #26 of 29
Anything new on this horizon here?
post #27 of 29
This is a great concept! I wish you success in the execution, 5bind--your background lends a lot of credibility to this venture. The 'stealth' issue mentioned doesn't concern me; that's merely good business sense. BTW, if you're looking for Beta testers, I'm game. (In fact, my career is in new business development and my Dad raises money for start-ups, so PM me if you'd like to talk.) I DO have a concern here, based on the portion of Philpug's video posting that shows the skier snapping out of the heel on purpose: Can lateral shocks caused by sideways hitting a rock or side of a mogul cause an unwanted release? (If I understand the concept here, perhaps it's a lateral shear issue.) Hopefully my concern is misplaced.

I have to pass on a story about the Burt bindings mentioned above. I owned a pair around 1973-74. They were a design where the binding and boot could together release from the ski and then snap back in place. (Think of it as about 2 feet of elasticity.) They were heavy but I was OK with them until the first day of a 5-day trip to Stowe, when I was just below the top of Chin Clip skiing along when the ski jettisoned forward and away from the binding/boot/leg/person (me). I watched the ski execute the next turn of the trail on it's own and go clear out of sight. I fortunately found it in a stream next to the trail about 1000 verts below. So much for the Burts! Of course, I never used them again.
post #28 of 29
Jarden's Marker Comp 30.0 EPS is the binding with the DIN 30 setting.

I'm curious...5bind goes to that great extend to give us his outstanding curriculum vitae and then uses a pseudonym. Many of us use a phony name on our postings, but we don't also request respect of our accomplishments by making the long listing of them. I'm not saying that anything he's said isn't true (might be, might not be), nor that his binding won't work (might work, might not). I'm just saying that he can post his real name like Bud, Lou, and others do, and they certainly get the respect they very rightfully deserve.
post #29 of 29
People use pseudonyms for all sorts of good reasons on the internet, and sometimes just out of habit. His real name is readily available on his website, and you can cross check at least some of that CV via Google....I just did.

The guy came here and posted the most interesting and technically oriented discussion of bindings I've ever seen posted. Clearly someone we could learn a lot from. I hope he sticks around and shares some more info with us, not just about his bindings, but bindings and their safety in general.

I just found a working link to the patent application. As a student I found the discussion in this thread of the cross-linking of release modes very interesting, as well as the dynamics of the system and the discussion of what is seen in high speed photography. I've played with these ideas in my head and its great to see someone who has a clear and thorough understanding of the topic (and professional experience designing these bindings) explaining it so succinctly.

Now, I haven't personally spent much time skiing in the Line binding, and who knows how much the final product reflected the designer's intent, but take a look at this article from the trade rag Outdoor Retailer:
http://www.allbusiness.com/retail-tr...4254754-1.html

If you are going to question other's motives and accomplishments, please do everyone a favor and make sure you have a good reason to. Obviously this gentleman has something to sell, but that doesn't mean we should discount what he says because of how he chose to register for epicski.

In short, don't post thinly veiled personal attacks unless you have a good reason to. Self inflicted ignorance isn't a good reason. Learn to use Google.
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