May 30, 14

Smart helmet being developed that detects concussion

Smart helmet being developed that detects concussion

A sports helmet that raises the alarm if a player suffers concussion is being developed at the University of Brighton.

The helmet carries sensors that pick up changes to skull pressure, switches on a red light if a concussion is detected and flashes red if there are signs of serious injury.

Players and referees would instantly see the light and call for medical assistance, while coaches and doctors on the touchline are alerted via a signal from the helmet to laptops, tablets and smartphones.

Nik Hannay (pictured), a final year sustainable product design student, came up with the idea during a visit to the USA.

His research revealed there are 100,000 concussion injuries in the NFL every year and 60 per cent come from head to head clashes.

The helmet, called Contego, includes a transparent polycarbonate visor that improves peripheral vision, but also shows more of the head and face to the opposition.

Hannay explains: “Players will see exactly what they are crashing into - people’s skulls - and the idea is to discourage players from using their helmets as offensive weapons.”

He has developed Contego mainly for American football players and is in contact with a USA helmet manufacturing company, which is watching developments closely.

Hannay, who co-owns a graphic design company, sees potential for the technology in other sports, including boxing, cycling, lacrosse and ice hockey.

24 and from Brighton, he graduates this year from the university and his ambition is to work as a designer for a leading sports equipment manufacturer.

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