Counting the hits in a helmet with nano-enabled foam

Cushioning blows to the head, whether in football, soccer (football ex USA), hockey, cycling and in combat, is something that present helmets don’t do terribly well, if worn at all–thus the prevalence of concussions not being diagnosed properly, or the cumulative sub-concussive blows that may result in CTE. A Brigham Young University (Utah) team has developed a helmet with what they dub ‘ExoNanoFoam’ in contact with the player’s head. The foam is piezoelectric–when there is pressure on the foam, it produces an electrical voltage. The voltage is read by a sensor in the helmet, sent to a tablet or other hand-held device, an app interprets the pressure and estimates the seriousness of the hit sustained by the player. Student Jake Merrell’s working prototype recently won a top three finish (and $2,000) at BYU’s Student Innovator of the Year competition. He also plans to submit a proposal to the upcoming GE/NFL/Under Armour Head Health Challenge.  The other news in the BYU release is that  ApplySci, IEEE Spectrum, BYU news release and video

TTA has extensively covered research on concussions and CTE in sports: articles are here

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