Using design and technology to produce a safer football helmet

As the devastating effects of soccer-related concussions are better understood, many fear one of America’s great sports is in jeopardy. Non-football fans probably don’t care, as it’s easy to think of football players as fools; but to the communities and young Americans who are connected to each other and individually shaped by football — read HG Bissinger Friday night lights, or watch the superb 96% documentary on Rotten-Tomates Unbeaten– that’s a big deal. Yet American sporting goods companies have been unable to create a helmet that can adequately protect the skull of a 300-pound man struck by other 300-pound men.

The problem might be intractable, but now a Seattle-based startup Vicis is trying to (ahem) tackle the problem by incorporating better design and technology into its Zero1 helmet. The company believes that by bringing together a great team of doctors, designers, engineers and manufacturing experts, they can produce a cutting edge – and extremely expensive – helmet that better protects the brain.

For the design part, Vicis enlisted the help of Seattle-based consulting firm, Artefact Group, who “understood the critical need to merge safety, form and function into the design of our new helmet,” said Dave Marver. , CEO of Vicis. “When we review our helmet designs with current and former NFL and NCAA players, they are always in awe of the look and feel of the ZERO1.”

Here’s what they found: a caption (optional)

LODE SHELL – Absorbs impact load by locally deforming, like a car bumper. Automotive safety engineers have used local deformation to protect people for decades. We are the first to bring this proven innovation to football helmets.

The CORE LAYER – Employs a high-tech columnar structure that moves omnidirectionally to reduce linear and rotational forces. The columnar geometry used in our CORE layer is based on principles first described by Leonhard Euler, a Swiss physicist in the 1700s.

The LODE shell and CORE layer work together to reduce impact forces, taking advantage of well-established engineering principles and materials long used in rigorous aerospace and automotive applications. Tested to withstand multiple seasons of play, the VICIS ZERO1 offers 21st century innovation based on fundamental science principles.

While Vicis got it right – so far testing has been limited to labs and simulations, with independently run field tests to come – the Zero1 will initially be out of reach for most, as the price tag will be out of reach. asking for $ 1,500 is well above your average. the school can afford it. (A typical youth helmet starts at under $ 100.) But the price will be a drop in the bucket for the National Football League, for which each team is worth around $ 2 billion, and the colleges in Division One will also be. able to collect zero. . And eventually,” Bloomberg reports, “[Vicis] hope to develop low cost models for high school and youth prom. “

Sorry to pick up on this, but if you are not a football fan and cannot understand the culture, I highly recommend you watch Unbeaten. It will change your perspective by showing you the little seen positive effect on character among young American men.

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