Many people work in potentially dangerous environments, such as construction, where falling objects or swinging machinery can cause serious injury. This is especially true when there is a blow to the head, which can lead to concussion and other impairments. First responders and healthcare workers need as much information as possible in order to treat the injured person effectively. This includes details about the location and nature of the impact. A traditional hard hat provides little or no data about an accident.
BeBop Sensors is a company that makes sensors that can be incorporated in textiles to create smart fabrics. Their technology has broad applications ranging from automotive to sports. In the case of head impact, the company has created a Smart Helmet Sensor System. Unlike some head impact devices that rely on a sensors in a single location, the BeBop system has a mesh of 40 separate sensors. This allows the device to identify the point of impact with great precision. It also measures the impact force in 6 axes at up to 160 Gravities. The sensors wake up within milliseconds of the initial impact, and then record data at 400 times per second for up to 16 seconds. This information is saved for later download, using Low-Energy Bluetooth for wireless data transfer. The system can also detect false triggers, such as when the helmet is dropped by accident.
This ability to get more detailed and precise data — in real time if necessary — can help track head impacts so that professionals can make better decisions about the severity of the injury. The Smart Helmet Sensor System is flexible, and can be incorporated in existing safety helmet designs, providing important extra protection for workers.