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12th April 2021

Wearable device detects brain trauma from sport

The new wearable technology pioneered by HIT Impact aims to detect brain trauma in sport

HIT Impact have developed a unique wearable impact sensor which can be attached onto helmets or halo headbands in bid to detect the force of head impact in a wide range of sports. The company aims to close the gap in the market for sportspeople to track their brain health.
The start-up developed the technology at the Edinburgh Business School (EBS) incubator at Heriot-Watt University.
The sensor records data and provides early warnings for the users about the magnitude of the impact force to the head. The device is connected to an app which has a 150m range and is adaptable to multiple devices. The app also hosts a ‘Team Play’ recording function for sports such as rugby and football.
Founder Euan Bowen, 28, an avid rugby player, developed the technology after a close friend and teammate was injured. Bowen hence created HIT Impact in bid to fill in the gap in existing research surrounding brain injuries inflicted from sports. He shared:

While studying for my degree, a close friend was injured during a game which made me curious about the impact of sub-concussive head knocks. I found little technology available to monitor head impact despite the severity of the issue across different sports. As a member of a rugby club in Edinburgh, I began researching and developing a project, working closely with the team to develop an initial prototype.
High impact sports are focusing increasingly on concussion mitigation with the Field (Football’s Influence on Lifelong Health and Dementia Risk) study recently finding that former professionals are three and a half times more likely to die of dementia than the general population.
In 2018, I secured a place in the Edinburgh Business School Incubator at Heriot-Watt University, which provided an ideal platform for me to validate my innovation and identify suitable markets. The move provided access to invaluable business advice and entrepreneurial training within an immersive environment with like-minded individuals. Developing your own company can be a lonely experience but incubator support can revolutionise the journey from idea to market for an entrepreneur like me.

Moreover, he explains the premise of the technology stating:

HIT Impact uses technology to monitor and identify user impact levels throughout a game in real time. It works by creating a baseline level of force incurred by the user and tracking any impact throughout their playing time. Once the baseline is met, the user is then removed from play to prevent further impacts. They can then be assessed using current concussion guidelines to deem their fitness to return to play. By tracking these impacts, we can collect data anonymously and build a data bank of situational head impact data to aid further research and understanding of traumatic brain injuries.

Kallum Russell, manager of the EBS Incubator said in a statement:

HIT Impact is a much-needed technology to track and support the current efforts to increase sports safety at a time when governing bodies across high impact sports are increasingly focused on minimising head trauma.

See also: Oxford University spinout, gaitQ, awarded £135k grant for wearable Parkinson’s medical device
Source: Med-Tech News Innovation