Friday, February 1, 2008

The $1,000 Football Helmet

For the past couple of years I've been helping an R&D company named Simbex set up and maintain MobiLink synchronization for their Head Impact Telemetry System (HITS). This system measures head impacts in real time during football games and practices, providing sideline staff with pager alerts whenever a player receives a serious impact or series of impacts.

Signals coming from sensors inside each player's helmet are transmitted wirelessly to a sideline controller for display and storage in a local SQL Anywhere database. From there the data is uploaded via MobiLink to a central SQL Anywhere database at Simbex headquarters for further research and development.

You can read the Sybase iAnywhere "Customer Success Story" about Simbex here, and my Dr. Dobbs article about some of the interesting technical issues here (there was a webcast, too, and as soon as I find it I'll post a link :).

Now, the sports equipment company Riddell is making the HITS helmet available to the public as the Revolution IQ HITS, and Time magazine has named it one of The Best Inventions Of The Year... that's where "The $1,000 Football Helmet" headline comes from.

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