LAS VEGAS - The exact causes and effects of concussions are still being discovered, but it’s clear enough that preventing them is crucial, especially for younger athletes whose brains are still developing.
While the Linx Impact Assessment System doesn’t measure concussions per se, it does record the force at which someone has been hit. A small dongle the size of a stick of gum, can be fitted into a headband or skullcap, has a 3-axis gyroscope and a 3-axis accelerometer that measures the force and direction of impact, and then relays that information via Bluetooth to a mobile app.
The Linx was created by BlackBox Biometrics, whose initial product was the Blast Gauge System, which is used by the U.S. military to measure the effects of concussive impacts on soldiers in combat.
Accompanying the Bluetooth dongle is an app that records the severity as well as the number of hits a player has received, and grades them on a numerical scale. The harder the hit, the higher the number. If the impact is particularly strong, the app will alert the coach, and offer an option to perform a sideline test for concussion-like symptoms. The Linx app can track more than 128 players simultaneously, so it can more than handle an entire college football team. The app can also store historical data on each player, which can then be shared with a doctor of team physician.
The company hasn’t set a firm release date, but is expected to make the Linx available for preorder in the first quarter of 2015 for $199.