Modifying a lacrosse helmet to alert the sideline trainer if a player's head received a large impact and should be checked for a concussion.
This will be the final web update for this year-long project. The time since the last update has been spent trying to complete the CAD and then assembly of all of the parts of the project. While the actual accelerometer inserts did get accomplished and completed, I was not able to test the helmet completely. This was due to the back attachment that houses both the battery and microcontroller. After working at it, and making many adjustments I have gotten to the point of being able to hook it into the back vents of the helmet, with the attachment matching the contour of the helmet so that screws can then be put through the bottom of the attachment and screwed into the helmet. Unfortunately, I was still attempting to create a good way to house the battery and micro-controller themselves, however I am happy with the proof of concept that it is possible to use accelerometers within a helmet to try to monitor large impact hits to the head and relay the information to the sidelines.
The construction and prototyping aspect of my project is nearing a close, as I have finished everything except for 3D printing the encasings for the electronic materials. I have been CADing these encasings using Fusion 360, and plan on using a softer - almost rubber like 3D printing filament that is able to absorb the impact of a hit and be less likely to break when inserted into the helmet, thus preserving the sensors, battery, and micro controller. The Cascade S helmet arrived, and batteries and chargers so I do not need to wait on anything else to arrive. With all the programming done, all I need to do is finish the inserts, then set my threshold impact level, and test the helmet in the lab.
Since the last web update, I have completed several important steps for my project. First, I finished finding and submitted all of the items I will be purchasing, and only wait on my helmet and battery charger to arrive. Next, because I already had the micro-controller and sensors I was able to start programming. I am almost finished with all of the programming, I currently have the data from 2 accelerometer sensors being averaged out and sent over to my phone through the Adafruit Bluefruit LE app using the UART mode. The acceleration data comes in as X, Y, and Z directions. The final thing will be having the data only print if the acceleration crosses a certain threshold value. All that will be left following the programing will be the design and implementation of a casing to hold the sensor, micro-controller, and battery which will be attached to the helmet.
Up until this point I have been researching the concussion problem, other projects similar to mine, and most importantly which components I should use for my project. I decided to use a Cascade S because it is the most up to date helmet from cascade, which is the most widely used lacrosse helmet brand. I have also decided to use a Ni-Mh battery instead of a lithium battery because it should be more stable under impact. I have also been able to find an adafruit micro-controller and IMU/linear accelerometer that should work well together and be able get an accurate reading of the impact force and then relay it though Bluetooth to the sidelines.