An "unnamed organization" (read NFL??) has contacted a scientific innovation company about designing a concussion-proof helmet. This info came out of a long, yet fascinating article about Lowell Wood who just surpassed Thomas Edison as the inventor with the most patents by an individual in the U.S.
The entire article is at: http://www.bloomberg.com/features/2015-americas-top-inventor-lowell-wood/
Pertinent excerpts are provided below:
"Recently folks have been getting really concerned about concussions, because professional athletes are showing up demented in their 40s and dying before they’re 50 with real unpleasant brains at autopsies. So we were asked to look at the concussion situation from an inventive standpoint."
"An organization—he declines to say which—came to talk him into developing anticoncussion technology."
"Wood’s anticoncussion solution, much like football, isn’t for the squeamish. Sensors in the helmet trigger a mechanism that fuses a player’s helmet and shoulder pads. Wood is vague on exactly how that would work, but spikes or rods of some kind would shoot down from the helmet to keep the head from turning."
“In a fraction of a—a tenth, a twentieth, a thirtieth—second, the helmet will put things down that will grab your collarbones and not only will your neck not break, but your brain won’t be damaged. You may take some collarbone damage, but everybody understands that collarbones heal. At least you won’t take the lasting damage to an organ that you really depend on. That’s what we’ve invented.”
"And there’s two interesting things that you can do. First of all, you can give them a helmet that will measure what the level of damage is that happens in any particular hit and will signal, ‘Hey kid, you’ve had enough, this is it for a day, a week, a month, or whatever. You’re just on the sidelines. You had a bad break, and here’s what has to be done in order to prevent permanent damage.’"
“Then the more engineering-inventive sort of thing is a helmet that will actually prevent the damage no matter how badly you may misbehave or somebody may mistreat you. You can literally keep the brain from twisting in a helmet, or, worse comes to worst, the helmet will go active on you and will anchor your head to your shoulders.”
Good news. The propellor heads agreed to meet with the marine biologists at Starbucks this week. Maybe they'll tailgate together this fall?
"Researchers find mantis shrimp is naturally designed to survive the repeated high-velocity blows by filtering out certain frequencies of waves"
“This is a novel concept,” said David Kisailus, the Winston Chung Endowed Professor in Energy Innovation at UC Riverside’s Bourns College of Engineering. “It implies that we can make composite materials able to filter certain stress waves that would otherwise damage the material.”
All hail, engineering and science students!
Popular Science this month brings us a look at the current state of the Football Helmet, concussions, sub-concussive impacts and a possible future for the helmet.
I do have some problems with the article. It opens with a sort of cloak-and-dagger setup directed at helmet manufacturers, which I find unnecessary and ridiculous. If a given technology proves itself to be better at preventing concussions and impact related brain damage, then helmet manufacturers are going to embrace that. If they haven't thusfar, it's because their data leads them to believe it is honestly not the best way to protect players.
There is some credence to the idea that manufacturers would like to protect themselves by supporting the work they've done in the past, certianly, but they're not going to ignore relevant, reliable modern data that shows better, safer ways to go. That doesn't protect them. It shoots them in the foot and opens them to more problems later.
Once you get past the bizzare, attack laced opening, though, the rest of the article is a pretty good, pretty cool look at some new technology that might help win the battle for a better football helmet. I was aware that new research showed that twisting and rolling of the brain within the skull was much more damaging than it simply bouncing around inside, and that there had been some work on developing helmets that took advantage of this knowledge, such as giving them a stretchy "skin" that would reduce inter-crainial rotation.
I had not heard of this new technology, though, which strikes me as simple and highly effective. By placing the helmet on a somewhat independently articulated skull cap, of sorts, it can protect against heavy blows while still moving and sliding independently of the head, reducing twisting.
I'm really glad to see some innovative thinking coming to helmet design. I would like to see the NCAA and the NFHS (not to mention the NFL), do some studies on the effectiveness of this new technology. What do you think?
Herb Frederick has attended to Michigan's football equipment for 70 years, and his duties have exposed him to that unique and long-lived combination of Ohio State football fans and urine:
“You don’t want to go to Columbus,” Herb said. “They had students living in Ohio Stadium, and they would pour water, sometimes urine, down on us when we backed the truck to unload it.”
Slow night here on the board so I figured I'd share a link of some interest seeing how it's about our first opponent. Seems that Western will be sporting a new-ish look against us. I kind of like them (as much as a Central student can something WMU) have a old-school feel to them.