A BrainShield patch with the SFU logo is place on the side of a football helmet.
New ‘patch’ could prevent brain injuries
By Shawn Conner, Special to The Sun October 1, 2015
METRO VANCOUVER -- Following a successful trial of their injury-preventing tech during the 2014 football season at Simon Fraser University, the makers of Brain Shield are ready to take the latest version of their innovation to market.
A decal that can be placed on any kind of helmet, no matter how complicated the design, the BrainShield has the potential to reduce not just head injuries for sports teams but also cyclists and motorcycle riders.
Made up of micro-engineered layers, the BrainShield diverts impact by reducing the frictional force applied to the helmet, thus mitigating rotational and linear acceleration of the brain.
Most blows to the head are delivered at an angle, rather than directly.
“Once you receive an impact, BrainShield doesn't allow that force to be fully applied to the helmet, and so reduces the sharp twisting and compression of the brain,” Daniel Abram said.
Abram, a post-doctoral fellow at Simon Fraser University, is chief technology and operating officer at Shield-X Technology, an SFU spinoff company for the development and manufacturing of BrainShield.
“You have a force coming down, but that force cannot catch on the helmet.”
The decal can be placed anywhere on the helmet. But Abram suggests placing it in “the areas where we believe the chance of causing sharp twisting is much higher, which is the lateral left and right.”
The patch can be customized with a team’s logo. It can also be made to glow in the dark for better nighttime visibility for cyclists and motorcyclists.
Abram and his colleagues, including Farid Golnaraghi and Gary Wang, have been developing BrainShield for close to six years. They unveiled an earlier version, BX1, in 2013. It was used during the 2014 season by the SFU football team, the Clan.
The results were “amazing,” Abram said.
“According to the coach (Jacques Chapdelaine), the number of concussions dropped from 14 cases in 2013 to only four cases in 2014.”
The new model, BX2, is 50 per cent thinner and 40 per cent lighter.
Shield-X plans to test it out this fall on at least two high school football teams in B.C.
Low-volume manufacturing has already began on the new decal. The next step for Shield-X is to raise enough funds through crowdsourcing for a high-volume manufacturing facility.
As beneficial as it may prove to be, wearing a BX2 patch isn’t a license to jump off a bridge. As the ShieldX website says, “By using BrainShield, you are accepting full responsibility for any risks or dangers associated with participating in your sport or activity.”
“A protective helmet is only one factor that determines brain injury,” Abram said. “Age, weight, the genetic strength of the person, the location of impact, its severity, whether or not it was anticipated, if you have had any kind of previous head trauma, all of these can contribute to having or not having head injury or concussion.
Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/news/simon-fraser-university/patch+could+prevent+brain+injuries/11406803/story.html#ixzz3nXffU3JJ