BYU-developed helmet smartfoam signals potential concussions in real time

Brigham Young University researchers have developed nano composite smartfoam that can be placed inside a football helmet to measure the impact and power of hits. The data lets coaches know within seconds how hard a player has been hit and whether or not they should be concerned about a concussion.
BYU mechanical engineering Ph.D. student, Jake Merrell, and a team of researchers across three BYU departments developed the technology, according to a university article.

The foam measures the impact of a hit via electrical signals, according to the article. The data is collected in real time and sent wirelessly to the tablet or device of a coach or trainer on the sidelines.

“The standard measurement systems on the market today directly measure the acceleration, but just measuring the acceleration is not enough and can even be erroneous,” Merrell said in the article. “Our XOnano smartfoam sensors measure much more than just acceleration, which we see as a vital key to better diagnose head injuries.”

The foam, which replaces the standard helmet foam, measures a composite of acceleration, impact energy and impact velocity to determine impact severity and location of impact, all with 90 percent accuracy, according to research published by Merrell in the Annals of Biomedical Engineering