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August 29, 2014

How an Internet of Things sensor detects concussions in young athletes

Jolt Sensor provides feedback on head injuries.

By Amy-Jo Crowley

Researchers at MIT have created a new wearable sensor that helps athletes to identify and evaluate head injuries in real-time.

The ‘Jolt Sensor’ is a small clip that attaches to any bit of head worn equipment, such as a helmet or headband.

When a player experiences a dangerous impact, the sensor vibrates to alert them and then sends a notification to an accompanying iOS or Android smartphone app via Bluetooth.

It also connects to the parents’ and coaches’ smartphones , and athletes can evaluate their symptoms using the Jolt app’s cognitive test and concussion symptom checklist.

Ben Harvatine and Seth Berg, the MIT creators behind the sensor, came up with the idea after Harvatine suffered a concussion during wrestling practice.

"Through the ensuing hospital visits and months of recovery, the same thought kept crossing my mind – how could this have been prevented?" Harvatine said in his Kickstarter video.

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"Many athletes like myself continue to play without realising they’ve been concussed, so there needs to be a way to alert parents, coaches and athletes of dangerous impacts as soon as they happen."

The sensor, which is waterproof and protected by soft silicone rubber, also comes equipped with a micro-USB port and a battery that lasts for several weeks on a single charge.

The sensor is currently seeking to raise $60,000 on Kickstarter following success trials.

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