Talan Skeels-Piggins is a former member of the UK Royal Navy who suffered a motorcycle accident that left him paralyzed from the chest down. He went on to compete as a downhill skier in the 10th Winter Paralympics, but an injury forced him to give that up. Instead, he got his motorcycle racing license: the first paralyzed rider to achieve this. And he has helped a team of graduates from the Royal College of Art and Imperial College London, as they created a new suit designed to help athletes like him detect potentially serious injury.
Because paraplegics have no sensation in their lower body, they can’t tell when they’ve been injured. The Bruise is special clothing that takes inserts of pressure-sensitive panels. When that part of the body suffers an impact, the panels change color. The greater the impact is, the more intense the color will appear. This makes it easier for the athlete, coaches, trainers, and physicians to identify areas of potential injury, and then administer the appropriate treatment.
This relatively simple technology could have other applications, such as anyone with nerve damage to their extremities. It also could be helpful for the elderly, who are prone to disabling injuries due to falls. The Bruise clothing could help caregivers locate the area of the impact, so that they can assess the severity and respond appropriately.