At the World Cup in Brazil this year. . .
Germany’s Christoph Kramer took a blow to the head – yet continued to play. Later he admitted to having no memory of the first half of play.
In the United States, The National Football League. . .
A study was released by the NFL that supported the long-held belief that American Football has a high rate of brain damage injuries stating that nearly a third of retired players are expected to develop long-term cognitive problems.
At the Winter Olympics in Sochi. . .
During the Women’s Slopestyle snowboarding final at the Sochi Winter Olympics, Sarka Pancochova, a Czech athlete, crashed headlong onto the piste with such force it cracked her helmet in two. While she was able to get to the bottom of the hill with minimal assistance (and show her damaged headgear to a bemused fellow competitor), it is entirely possible that there will be long term effects which were not evident at the time.
And it’s not just about head trauma. . .
Beyond impact events, there have been incidents in which monitoring technologies might have saved lives. For example, in December 2013, two Scottish teenage soccer players, aged 18 and 13, died within hours of each other. The cause in both instances was deemed to be cardiac arrest.
At the moment, diagnosis of the significance of an impact event or even routine monitoring is limited to trained medical personnel. Even then, it is usually guesswork as to how much force was involved; particularly those events which occur during amateur or school matches. Understanding the force of an impact at the time it occurs enables timely diagnoses to be made.
Given the continued advances in wearable technology, it is possible to create a solution that has the following features:
- It should provide vital health information about player / competitor while they are out on the field of play (soccer fields to ski runs): e.g., measure impact events upon a helmet or headgear or provide real time heart rate information.
- It should be either be an unobtrusive addition to a usual uniform or installable into existing gear.
- It should have the ability to communicate via wireless or Bluetooth to a phone app to inform coaches and other supervisory personnel about the health status of the players. This software should be open source to allow further development for specific scenarios.
- It should issue alerts when necessary, e.g., when impacts are above a certain amount of force or heart rate above a certain number of beats per minute. There should be a means to look at aggregate data, e.g. should be able to look at the cumulative effect of impacts over a single game or match.
- It should be cheap and easily assembled by those operating at a secondary or high school level of technical skill.
We have created this Design Challenge so that Members of The element14 Community can create inventions intended to save lives.
The challenge will begin recruitment on November 3, 2014; the closing date for recruitment date is November 24, 2014. Fifteen challengers will be selected and announced as soon as possible afterwards.
Challengers will have until Friday, March 27, 2015 to submit their completed submission.
The kits to be provided to each of the challengers is as follows –
Analog Devices Evaluation Kits
Evaluation board with an AD8232 heart rate monitor.
Evaluation board for the ADUCM350, a complete, coin cell powered, high precision, meter-on-chip for portable device applications for applications such as point-of-care diagnostics and body-worn devices for monitoring vital signs.
Evaluation board which allows designers to easily evaluate all features of the ADT7420 and ADT7320 high accuracy temperature sensor
A simple evaluation board that allows quick evaluation of the performance of the ADXL375 3-axis digital accelerometer.
An Inertial Sensor Evaluation System, Includes ADXL375 Satellite
A simple breakout board that allows quick evaluation of the performance of the ADXL377. The ADXL377 is a 3-axis analog-output accelerometer with ±200 g measurement range.
A complete system for real-time evaluation of the ADXL362 micropower, 3-axis, digital-ouptut MEMS accelerometer.
Real-time evaluation system: includes motherboard, satellite board, accelerometer, and all required cables.
The TBS1202B-EDU Oscilloscope will be provided to each of the competitors.
Each competitor will receive the following resins –
- UR5562 - 2 part optically clear polyurethane resin
- UR5041 - 2 part black polyurethane resin with excellent water resistance
Each competitor will receive a budget of $500 / €375 to purchase additional components.
After the final submissions of the designs and code on March 27, 2014, the solutions will be assessed by Leeds Beckett University. The following criteria will be used in their analysis:
- Accuracy: how well does the proposed solution register the information it is intended to assess?
- Convenience: how easy it will be for non-technical personnel, such as coaches and trainers, to use the information? How easy is it to put together and download the software?
- Cost: how much will it cost for a school or sports club to install the solution in their equipment? Is it cost effective?
- Durability: for example, can it withstand multiple impacts and yet continue to function normally?
The solution which meets these four criteria the best will be the winner; in the case that if further improvements are yet required for it to be used in real life scenarios, we will may work with the winning engineer to develop it to fruition.
We intend for Leeds Beckett University to blog about the progress of testing on element14. This will establish the transparent criteria that are being used in judging the solutions, furthermore, it will keep the engineers informed while they await the results.
Hilbert, Evan “Germany’s Christoph Kramer has no memory of final’s first half” CBSSports.com, July 14, 2014,< http://www.cbssports.com/world-cup/eye-on-world-cup/24620696/germanys-christoph-kramer-has-no-memory-of-finals-first-half>
 Belson, Ken “Brain Trauma to Affect One in Three Players, NFL Agrees”, The New York Times, September 12, 2014, < http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/13/sports/football/actuarial-reports-in-nfl-concussion-deal-are-released.html?_r=0>
 Brooke, Tyler “Czech Snowboarder Sarka Pancochova Breaks Helmet on Nasty Spill” Bleacher Report February 9, 2014 <http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1953875-czech-snowboarder-sarka-pancochova-breaks-helmet-on-nasty-spill> [Accessed February 10, 2014]
 O'Hare, Paul & Nicola Stow "Scottish football in mourning as two teenage players die suddenly in Edinburgh within hours of each other" The Daily Record December 23, 2013 <http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/scottish-football-mourning-two-teenage-2954553> [Accessed August 31, 2014]