Pressure sensors could ensure a proper helmet fit to help protect the brain

Numerous athletes, from football players to equestrians, depend on helmets to shield their heads from

Numerous athletes, from football players to equestrians, depend on helmets to shield their heads from impacts or falls. Nevertheless, a free or improperly fitted helmet could leave them vulnerable to traumatic brain accidents (TBIs), a major bring about of demise or disability in the U.S.

Now, researchers reporting in ACS Sensors have produced a highly delicate stress sensor cap that, when worn below a helmet, could enable expose no matter if the headgear is a ideal match.

When worn below a helmet, a match cap reveals the stress exerted by the helmet on 16 different sensors. Picture credit history: Tailored from ACS Sensors 2021, DOI: ten.1021/acssensors.0c02122

According to the U.S. Facilities for Disease Manage and Avoidance, 1.six to three.8 million sports- and recreation-connected TBIs take place every 12 months in the U.S. Industry data counsel that free or improperly fitted helmets can contribute to TBIs, but no equipment at the moment exist that can provide facts about how effectively a helmet conforms to an individual player’s head.

To enable observe and superior comprehend helmet match, Simin Masihi, Massood Atashbar and colleagues wanted to acquire highly delicate, material-based mostly sensors that could map stress in genuine-time.

The researchers made their sensors by placing porous polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) layer concerning two material-based mostly, conductive electrodes. They made uniform pores in the PDMS layer by mixing and heating PDMS, sodium bicarbonate (also identified as baking soda) and nitric acid, which produced bubbles of carbon dioxide gas. When the staff applied stress to the sensor, the porous materials compressed, producing a capacitance change as the room concerning the two electrodes lessened.

To reveal a wearable helmet match system, the researchers additional 16 stress sensors to different areas on a cap. Three volunteers wore the cap below a football helmet, and the sensors properly revealed that the man or woman with the largest head measurements felt the most stress all-around his head, notably in the entrance. The match cap could enable athletes pick the correct off-the-shelf helmet for their head and allow producers to acquire customized helmets to cut down the severity of sports-connected head accidents, the researchers say.