Smartfoam Can Calculate Impacts in Football Helmets – ZMR Blog
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Smartfoam Can Calculate Impacts in Football Helmets

Smartfoam Can Calculate Impacts in Football Helmets

Most fans of football have witnessed players getting banged so hard that they can hardly walk. All too frequently, in the past couple of years, those footballers were back on the ground just a few games later, in spite of undergoing what seemed to be head damage. While football-associated concussions have been at the top in the list in our mind in last couple of years, individuals have grappled to make technology to precisely calculate them in real time.

This problem was noticed by Jake Merrell, who at BYU mechanical engineering is a Ph.D. candidate, and a team of scientist. Merrell and others have tested and developed a nano composite smartfoam that can be fitted within a football pads and helmet to more precisely test the power and impact of hits.

The foam calculates the impact of a strike through electrical signals. The information is gathered in real time and transported to the device or tablet of a trainer or coach on the sidelines wirelessly. A coach can be aware within seconds how badly a player has been banged and whether or not must be worried about an injury.


“The typical calculation systems on the market these days directly calculate the pace, but just calculating the pace is not sufficient and can even be incorrect,” Merrell claimed to the media. “Our sensors of XOnano smartfoam calculate much more than just pace, which we view as an important key to better analyze head damages.”

The foam that substitutes the standard foam of helmet, calculates a composite of impact energy, acceleration, and impact velocity to establish location of impact and impact severity, all with 90% accurateness, as per research posted by Merrell in the Annals of Biomedical Engineering. Till this day, no one (not even the NFL) has been capable of successfully measuring the velocity and impact energy of a collision, which are two information points essential to precisely calculate whether a footballer is at jeopardy of an injury or not.

Here is how the BYU smartfoam operates: When the foam is condensed, nano-particles of nickel rub against the foam, making a static electric current, akin to when you rub a your hair against balloon. That charge is then gathered via a conductive electrode present in the foam, calculated by a microcomputer and sent to a smart device or a computer. A hard bang elevates the voltage, while tiny bangs lead in a lowered elevation in voltage.

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