Head injuries have reared their ugly heads in a variety ways across the fields of every sport- especially American Football. Decades of multiple- although minor- concussions and related head injuries have surfaced in the mainstream news as cause for severe depression, suicide, impaired critical thinking and motor skills, and premature death in athletes of all ages. The “Wearable Warning” from Reebok is a fitted beanie-like cap worn under a helmet with a device extending just below the cervical vertebrae of the neck. This device measures the intensity of force sustained in a collision. The readings are immediately visible with a “check light” resembling a traffic light. The Wearable Warning took 4 years of trial and error, incorporating 5 types of 3D printing prototypes including full-color Z-Corp and Poly jet printing. The Wearable Warning underwent 15,000 drop tests with 465 different test subjects in 1,500 units of testing. Considering that 1 in 100 athletes in contact sports sustain traumatic brain injuries, pinpointing the precise time and degree of injury is vital to providing athletes with the diagnosis and care needed to recover from injuries that otherwise go unnoticed, undiagnosed, and untreated until the consequences (symptoms) of the injurie(s) manifest into irreversible and devastating results. This technology has been made an accessible possibility thanks to 3D printing!
“Reebok Used 3D Printing to Develop Its Wearable Warning Device for Head Injuries.” Reebok Used 3D Printing to Develop Its Wearable Warning Device for Head Injuries. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Dec. 2014.