This smart anti-concussion football helmet was created by a 19-year-old student

Concussions, aka the most minor of traumatic brain injuries, are scary things. Prevalent in many full-contact sports, they’ve thankfully been the focus of increasing mainstream attention over the past several years, including the aptly named 2015 film Concussion.

Texas Tech student Alberto Garcia is among the technologists hoping to come up with a solution, however. He’s spent the past several years working on a smart helmet and shoulder pad system, complete with built-in Arduino microcontroller, that’s designed to help reduce traumatic injury in football players.

“It has stabilizers around the head and neck that are controlled with the microcontroller,” he said. “It has four sensors around the helmet and shoulder pads, and also an accelerometer inside the helmet, which reads the change in force and speed. If a player feels an impact, the stabilizers activate in microseconds to reduce the whiplash effect on the neck. Therefore, you can not only reduce concussions — but also reduce the odds of a player receiving spinal cord or neck injuries.”

Garcia said that he was inspired after reading an article describing the way in which animals such as woodpeckers and rams are able to undergo the kind of head impacts that would prove dangerous in a human — without any apparent ill effects. They have stabilizers built into their necks, which help to prevent the kind of whiplash that is so dangerous for people like football players. “It was sort of a hint from nature, which helped get me really interested,” Garcia continued.

Having started working on his smart helmet after suffering a concussion playing football as a high school sophomore, Garcia is currently deciding whether to either license his creation or market it himself through a startup. At the age of just 19, he’s certainly got plenty of time to decide.

“I don’t think American football will ever go away, but we need to create a better solution for protecting our football players,” he said. “And not just football players, either — but people doing other tough and physical activities, as well.”

Emerging Tech

Here’s how Facebook taught its Portal A.I. to think like a Hollywood filmmaker

When Facebook introduced its Portal screen-enhanced smart speakers, it wanted to find a way to make video chat as intimate as sitting down for a conversation with a friend. Here's how it did it.
Smart Home

Google Home vs. Amazon Echo: Which one is better for you?

What happens when you compare the Google Home vs the Amazon Echo? Both smart speakers have good qualities, but what happens when you compare they're features side-by-side? We think one of these smart gadgets wins over the other.
Smart Home

Leviton’s Wi-Fi Load Center and Smart Circuit Breakers give your home a brain

Is your home ready for a brain transplant? Adding individual smart plugs is quick, easy, and inexpensive, but the benefits are limited to one plug at a time. Leviton's Load Center and Smart Circuit Breakers can give your home a brain.

KBIS 2019: LG adds Tovala’s meal platform to its array of smart oven add-ons

LG Electronics USA is launching new partnerships at KBIS 2019, including a new app integration into its smart ovens that will add Tovala's meal delivery and preparation platform. LG also features partnerships with SideChef, Innit, and Drop.
Emerging Tech

FDA warns about the dangers of anti-aging blood transfusions

It turns out injecting old people with blood from healthy youngsters may not be the answer to health rejuvenation. That’s according to the FDA, which says such claims are dangerous junk science.
Emerging Tech

Bees can do arithmetic, setting the scientific community abuzz

A new study has found something remarkable: Bees can do basic arithmetic. Researchers showed that bees could use colors as representations for numbers and then use those colors for addition and subtraction.
Emerging Tech

DeepSqueak is a machine learning A.I. that reveals what rats are chatting about

Want to know what rats are squeaking about? You'd better check out DeepSqueak, the new deep learning artificial intelligence developed by researchers at the University of Washington.
Health & Fitness

Immune cell discovery takes us one step closer to a universal flu vaccine

A group of international researchers have made a discovery which could take us one step closer to the universal, one-shot flu vaccine that people around the world have been dreaming of.

NASA celebrates Earth’s incredible natural beauty with free photo book

NASA has published a fabulous new book featuring stunning imagery captured by its satellites over the years. A hardback version is available for $53, though it can also be downloaded to ebook readers for free, and enjoyed online.

This new all-in-one flashlight is a power bank, lighter, and screwdriver

The Pyyros modular flashlight can perform numerous field tasks, from hammering to starting fires. If you back it on Kickstarter now, you can score some savings on this innovative flashlight and multi-tool, but act fast: This early-bird…
Movies & TV

Hilarious new Kickstarter aims to fix Scorcese’s last scene in The Departed

A fan of The Departed and apparent hater of rat-as-symbolism imagery has launched a Kickstarter campaign to digitally erase the rodent from the end of Martin Scorsese’s 2006 movie.
Emerging Tech

Baristas beware, Bbox cafe uses robots to brew your morning coffee

Want your morning coffee and pastry prepared by robot? Bbox, a new coffee shop in downtown Berkeley, California, lets customers place their order by app and then uses automation to take care of the rest.
Emerging Tech

This ridiculous new flamethrower makes Elon Musk’s look like a cigarette lighter

The XL18 Flamethrower is a flame-shooting beast on steroids, capable of firing off bursts of flame more than 110 feet in length. The best part? You can order it over the internet today.
Emerging Tech

SpaceX just nailed its most challenging Falcon 9 rocket landing to date

If you've been following the SpaceX launch calendar, you know this week marks the first launch from Cape Canaveral in two months. We have the details on where you can watch the launch live.