In recent years we’ve become increasingly aware of the long-term effects of head trauma, particularly in contact sports such as football, soccer, and hockey. Personally, I remember Glen “Big Baby” Davis taking an elbow to the head in the NBA playoffs a few years back, and watching him stumble around the floor afterward was truly scary.
But an innovative new company is looking to change that in youth athletics. Anthony Gonzales of Force Impact Technologies (www.fitguard.me) introduced me to the company’s FITGuard, a head injury awareness mouth guard equipped with a ±200 g MEMS Accelerometer from Analog Devices and Maxim Integrated’s MAX21000 angular rate sensor to process linear and angular acceleration before illuminating a high luminosity RGB LED from SEOUL Semiconductor when force impacts occur (blue indicates a medium force impact, while red indicates severe).
For coaches and parents monitoring several athletes on the field at once, the FITGaurd also incorporates a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) SoC for communication with a smartphone app, which documents trauma over the course of a season and, importantly, can be made available to medical professionals attempting to diagnose the severity of head injuries. The FITGaurd can be programmed to the age, gender, and weight of individual athletes, and, in time, Gonzales hopes that data gathered through the company’s app can be used to establish a clinical database for sports-related head impacts, which would be the first of its kind.
This is a truly good idea and for a really good cause. More on the technology is available below.