WMU students develop helmet that measures impact

The sensor helmet. (March 19, 2015)

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — A group of Western Michigan University engineering students have created a prototype helmet that detects and measures the force of impacts.

The prototype helmet has flexible sensors on the side of it, but the finished product is expected to be completely lined with those sensors.

“These are individual sensors that can map the force or impacts felt in the sports field,” one of the creators of the product, Binu Baby Narakathu, explained to 24 Hour News 8.

Narakathu and his faculty advisor Massoud Atashbar spoke to 24 Hour News 8 Thursday. Narakathu and three other students, Michael Joyce, Ali Eshkeiti and Sai Gureva Reddy, designed the product and created a company, SafeSense Technologies LLC.

The flexible sensors will be able to detect where, when and how hard an impact happens and then send that data to a smartphone app in real time

The data will also be logged so coaches can monitor impacts throughout a season.

The goal of the helmet is to take the guesswork out of safety on the sidelines.

“Introducing a system like ours would be able to act as a first line of defense where the coach would have enough information to decide if he needs to pull [the player] out and take them to a physician for more analysis or not,” said Narakathu.

The sensor on the helmet. (March 19, 2015)
(The sensor on the helmet.)

The next step is to field test the helmets. Narakathu said that requires funding to create multiple working models. When the group gets the funding, their goal is to field test the helmets within six months.

The group is expecting each helmet to cost between $100 and $150 when they reach the marketplace.

“With a hundred-, hundred fifty-dollar investment, I’m sure that any parent that can afford — for the sporting gear and the costs of other things that they provide for the kids to play any sport, specifically football — they would invest that money in terms of our kids,” said Atashbar.

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