A subtle wearable device that could save lives.
This decade has seen a keen eye trained on head injuries sustained in sport, the Premier League ushered in new rules for this season after some high-profile concussion cases and a recent study suggested that as many as 3.8 million concussions a year occur during sporting and recreational activities in the US alone.
By far the worst, and riskiest sport is American Football and in 2013 after lawsuits involving over 4,500 former players the NFL decided to heavily invest in R&D to prevent more head injuries, other sports have followed suit.
Whether it was luck or foresight sportswear giant Reebok had already anticipated this new health and safety focus in 2010. They'd set about developing a wearable device for athletes and their coaches to better diagnose a blow to the head as it happens.
There’s certainly a gap in the market and a potentially untapped cash cow as Reebok’s research concluded that are over 113 million people participating in helmet required sports of which 1 in 100 would suffer a traumatic brain injury.
The idea was Reebok Checklight; a wearable warning device that would register blows to the head and offer an immediately visible reading of the force of the last particular impact. The product has won a whole host of awards not least at 2014 International CES were it won a Design and Engineering Innovation award, the product was only possible thanks to 3D printing.
Gary Rabinovitz is a long time friend of TCT and has worked in Reebok’s rapid prototyping laboratory for some 17 years he is also advisor to the board at the Additive Manufacturing Users Group (AMUG). At TCT Show + Personalize 2014, Gary took to the stage to explain how this project was the most demanding use of his laboratory to date.
Gary Rabinovitz on Reebok's Checklight at TCT Show + Personalize
WATCH: Gary's great talk at this years TCT Show for FREE.
Four years in development the Checklight went through countless iterations, as the product got smaller, the batteries changed, the comfort level was ramped up, 465 subjects went through 1,500 units of experimentation and the prototpes went through 15,000 drop tests.
For prototyping Gary and his team used five types of 3D printing technologies from full-colour Z-Corp printing to demonstrate the traffic light warning system to the use of Polyjet materials that made the all important living hinge possible.
The end-result has, as previously stated, been much lauded it has even lead to improvements in skill. Kids wearing the Checklight know that a red light could lead to them coming off the field and thus learn how to tackle without their head – the proper way.