Helmet use has been on the rise in recent years. Public awareness of the need to prevent spinal cord injuries in addition to traumatic brain injuries in sports ranging from skiing and hurling to bicycling and car racing has led to new research and development on helmet design.
Technological advancements in helmets are being developed by a team of scientists at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, a Softpedia article reported. Most current helmet designs were invented with preventing traumatic brain injury in mind. Thus, the helmets would dissipate blows to the head. However, the trauma in many head injuries, while deflected from the head by a helmet, can still deliver a severe shock to the vertebrae and spinal cord in the neck.
The new technology, also reported on in Technology Review, adds extra protection to deflect the shock of an impact away from the spinal cord as well as the head.Â The scientists have developed what they call a two-shell helmet design. Softpedia reported, ‘What the mechanism connecting the two shells does is release itself when the helmet is struck with sufficient force by something. This causes the inner shell to glide under the external one, allowing the head and neck to dissipate force as if they struck an angled surface, rather than a head-on one.’
The Technology Review article reported that in testing the new design in simulated crashes, it reduced the force of impact on the neck by half. The article added that the scientists have received $150,000 in funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to assist then in bringing the new helmets through testing and into the consumer market. The team of researchers plan on creating specialized helmets designed with the particulars of various sports in mind.
With ingenuity, science, and funding, the team of scientists hopes to see their neck-protection helmets released on the market in 3 years.
Gravitz, Lauren. (January 6, 2010) ‘A Helmet to Prevent Paralysis.’ Retrieved on January 10, 2010 from the Technology Review website:http://www.technologyreview.com/biomedicine/24312/?a=f#afteradbody
Vieru, Tudor. (January 6, 2010) ‘Anti-Paralysis Helmet in the Works.’ Retrieved on January 10, 2010 from the Softpedia website: http://news.softpedia.com/news/Anti-Paralysis-Helmet-in-the-Works-131271…