Element14 is a global electronic component distributor, and the company promotes innovation and invention in an interesting way. They essentially conduct worldwide hack-a-thons, offering prizes to teams that create solutions to a stated problem. The company’s latest Design Challenge is called “Sudden Impact,” and it calls on engineers and designers to come up with a solution for sports-related injuries or potentially dangerous conditions. The organizers have stated a set of five features to guide the process. These range from “It should provide vital health information about player while they are out on the field of play” to “It should be cheap and easily assembled.” Other features include wireless notifications and unobtrusive design that can be incorporated into the athlete’s existing gear, if possible. Sports-related head injuries are one possible target for participants in this program, but other applications are also invited.
Interested individuals and teams can submit an application to be included in the Challenge, and if they are selected as one of the Challengers, they will receive a kit of components from Analog Devices. These include a heart rate monitor, a temperature sensor, an accelerometer, an inertial sensor, and supporting controllers and cables. They also will receive resins from Electrolube, as well as the use of a Tektronix oscilloscope during their development stage. They will also receive a $500 budget that can be used to purchase additional components.
The winners of the Challenge will receive a $14,000 Tektronix oscilloscope, as well as a MacBook Air and Withings Home HD sensors. And all Challengers will receive a Withings Plus sports watch. These are some attractive prizes, and the entire project could result in some innovative and practical new designs to help protect athletes at all levels from potential injury.