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Smart Products Come to Football

Posted By Jeff Moad, November 14, 2013 at 11:06 AM, in Category: Transformative Technologies

As sensors become cheaper and more capable and wireless connectivity more ubiquitous, manufacturers are embracing the “Internet of Things,” adding intelligence to more and more products. The latest example comes from the world of American football, where helmet manufacturer Riddell is rolling out a system it calls Insite which isolates and records the intensity and type of head impacts that occur on the field. The idea is to reduce the number and severity of concussions and other head injuries by giving coaches, players, and doctors more information about what happens when very large humans run into each other for sport.

In development for 10 years, the Insite system uses mechanical enclosures and algorithms to assess head impacts.

Riddell expects the system to contribute to safer playing conditions in several ways. Coaches, for example, will be able to tell which players are receiving more severe head impacts than normal and to work with those players to improve their technique. Manufacturers will be able to use the data to improve helmet designs. With more information about head impact incidents, doctors will be able to make better “return-to-play” decisions after injuries. And data collected from helmets may support rule changes designed to reduce injuries.

It’s very similar to how other manufacturers are building intelligence into products from cars to industrial pumps to understand how these products are used and under what conditions they fail.

Is your company building intelligence into its products? What are you doing, and what have you learned?

Written by Jeff Moad

Jeff Moad is Research Director and Executive Editor with the Manufacturing Leadership Community. He also directs the Manufacturing Leadership Awards Program. Follow our LinkedIn Groups: Manufacturing Leadership Council and Manufacturing Leadership Summit


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