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Concussion-monitoring tech moves beyond the gridiron with new sensor

concussion monitoring sensor skullcap headband cue sport hero
Image used with permission by copyright holder
Contact sports carry a risk of brain injury from both one-time collisions and long-term exposure to repeated impacts. To lessen the risk of serious injury, companies like Athlete Intelligence, formerly i1 Biometrics, are pouring a significant amount of time and effort into developing technology that can monitor an athlete for signs of a concussion. This company already produces a helmet-sensor and a high-tech mouth guard for high-impact sports, and now it has unveiled the Cue Sport Sensor, a sensor small enough to fit on a headband or skullcap, and versatile enough to be used in almost any athletic endeavor.

Existing concussion detection technology is focused on helmeted sports like football and hockey, which uses head impact sensors to monitor an athlete’s movements. These sensors, usually mounted on a helmet, send the collected data to a computer platform which parses this information and assess the probability of a concussion. These sensors work well for helmeted sports, but they fall short when it comes to non-helmeted sports like soccer and rugby. This shortfall is a significant issue as recent studies suggest such sports are equally as dangerous as their helmeted counterparts. To address this gap, Athlete Intelligence turned its focus on developing the Cue Sports Sensor.

The new Cue Sport Sensor draws many of its features from the helmet-mounted sensors, but it improves upon that technology. The Cue Sports Sensor is a small, lightweight plastic sensor that can be slid easily into a hat, headband, or skullcap. Because it fits on everyday clothing, the sensor can be used to monitor a wide variety of sports. Once activated, the sensor measures both head impacts and movement metrics such as speed, distance, body angle, and movement in space. The device stores this information and then transmits it wirelessly via Bluetooth or radio frequency in real time to a mobile device or tablet. The software takes this data and analyzes it both for head injury and performance, providing insight into the how the athlete is responding while on the field or the court. This analysis can be done on an individual basis or for an entire team.

i1 Biometrics recently rebranded and is now known as Athlete Intelligence, a name that reflects the company’s commitment to developing a line of sports-related technology. The company plans to begin shipping its new Cue Sport Sensor later this spring.

Kelly Hodgkins
Kelly's been writing online for ten years, working at Gizmodo, TUAW, and BGR among others. Living near the White Mountains of…
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