An apparatus and method for making a low cost, self-venting, inflatable protective cushion of simple and structurally efficient design with a shape and construction that optimizes the cushion's ability to withstand inflation pressures and impact when deployed which includes a sheet defined by at least one fold line and a plurality of flap portions, each flap portion having a base edge corresponding to a fold line and at least two side edges each extending outwardly from a base edge and ultimately converging to meet each other, the flap portions being folded at the fold line(s) and being joined at corresponding side edges to define an inflatable chamber. The inflatable protective cushion and method for making same may further include a lightweight, low permeability, fabric that optimizes the cushion's ability to withstand inflation pressures and impact when deployed and minimizes the packed volume of the cushion when stored.
This invention was made with support of the United States Government under Contract No. DE-AC0476DP00789, awarded by the Department of Energy. The United States Government has certain rights in the invention.