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Surprising Science

Coming Soon: A Skullcap That Senses Head Impact Severity

The cap, which can be worn with or without a helmet, provides LED readouts in green, yellow or red to indicate the seriousness of a hit.

Article written by guest writer Kecia Lynn

What’s the Latest Development?

Amid increasing concerns about the dangers of concussions sustained during sports, Reebok and Massachusetts-based startup MC10 recently announced the development of a sensor-laden skullcap that can provide coaches, parents, and others with data on how serious a player has been hit. The skullcap, which contains stretchable electronics, is not as sophisticated as other types of sensor-filled helmets, but MC10 CEO David Icke says this product, besides being unobtrusive, “is something that can be [made] broadly available to youth programs, high school programs, and professional programs.” They expect to unveil the product early next year.

What’s the Big Idea?

Millions of people participate in sports which involve the possibility of head trauma, and recent research has demonstrated how a series of small knocks over time can pave the way for serious brain damage down the road. It’s gotten to the point that the Centers for Disease Control have labeled sports-related concussions a serious threat to public health. Icke says the skullcap is intended to provide simple feedback: “Only a few of the total number of incidents are witnessed by somebody…The intent is to [be able to] say, ‘Take the kid out of the game.'”



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