Head trauma in sports has always been a major concern in impact sports. In 2012 we saw the NFL take a lot of heat over its current and former players experiencing multiple concussions. Verizon, Intel and Ridell are all building systems to help identify concussed players. Reebok and mc10 have collaborated to create CheckLight, a head impact indicator meant to make it easy to see when an athlete has taken a dangerous blow to the head. The CheckLight itself is comprised of two parts: a sensor device built by mc10 and skull-cap made by Reebok.
The sensor itself is a strip of plastic filled with flexible sensors connected to a small microcontroller module with three indicator LEDs and a micro-USB port. One LED serves as a battery level indicator, one flashes yellow after moderate impacts and a third flashes red for severe blows. mc10 wasn’t willing to share the exact hardware inside, but we know that it’s got a rechargeable battery and has rotational acceleration, multi-directional acceleration, impact location and impact duration. Data from those sensors is then run through the company’s proprietary algorithm to determine when to fire the LEDs.
There are two key features that separate CheckLight apart from previous athletic impact sensors. First, its flexible design measures the impact on a wearer’s head, as opposed to the impact on a helmet, which — according to Kacyvenski — means that the data it provides is more relevant and accurate than competing systems. And, it means that the CheckLight can be used with multiple helmets.
Reebok and MC10 hope to not only sell the device to professional and college athletic programs, but make the device available to k-12 schools and public sport programs. There is no word yet on pricing or availability, but we hope to see some numbers soon.