These new 3D scan fit helmets could make football safer

Riddell’s next step in football helmet engineering includes personalized 3D manager searches .

Image: lili sams/ Mashable

Helmets already stimulate the violent game of football safer, but one of the most difficult equipment makers in the sport is attaining them even better. It’s developed a brand-new process to generate helmets that could play a role in preventing the traumatic manager injuries that are now beset the game and threaten its future.

Riddell, the company behind the helmets worn by around 60 percent of NFL musicians, will use a brand-new 3D head-scanning process on each player who wears its brand-new Precision Fit headgear. To be sure there are other innovations in helmet tech, but unlike just about every other helmet design on the market, which use inflatable pads that are adjusted manually by handheld air pumps, the inside of the Precision Fit models have a custom-fit liner system make use of “energy managing materials” built according to the personalized scan data of each player’s head.

The personalization is in order to stimulate musicians more comfortable and therefore, safer than ever before according to its makers, who call it “the perfect fitting helmet.” While the custom fit is necessarily help to prevent injuries that arising as a result of poorly-adjusted headgear, and perform better than helmets mass being developed for members of the general market, it’s important to note that there’s no current tech that can protect against every single injury. Football is filled with crashes that have been quantified on the same scale as vehicle crashes, so as long as the sport is played as it is today, manager injuries will be an inauspicious, unavoidable reality.

After four years of development and a successful limited extend of beta testing at select colleges, Precision Fit will be available to NFL musicians for the the 2017 season.

The Riddell team to halt Mashable HQ so I could check out the scanning process for myself. I played the sport through high school, college, and professionally in Germany, so I’ve worn football helmets for my entire life including the Riddell Speed model the Precision Fit system is dependent upon but I’ve never experienced anything like this.

A standard example of the Speedflex helmet.

Image: riddell

When I played youth football, helmets were given out to players without much consider, with a few pumps of air and a hearty slap on the side of the manager to check if it stayed in place. Subsequently in my career, as the extent of the peril that comes with manager injuries and concussions came to light, I was specially fitted for each helmet I wore but controlling that fit throughout the season was largely turn left me.

The status of my helmet was always a major concern for me, but it quickly took a backseat to my focus on the field during games. I often discovered myself playing with a less-than-ideal fit, which might have contributed to my own experiences with concussions. Football players today need to be able to play without those issues with convenience and purpose which is why Riddell’s brand-new fitting process caught my attention.

Scanning for a perfect fit

I was given a cowl to put on under a demo helmet, which I then strapped on tightly so the scanner could record exactly where it sat on my head.

I got the helmet determine comfortably on my manager, as if I were putting it on for a game.

Image: lili sams/ mashable

The Riddell tech ambled around me in a clique to capture a 360 -degree scan of my manager with the helmet on, utilizing a 3D scanner hooked up to a Surface tablet running the company’s proprietary software.

The scanner captured images of exactly how the helmet sat on my head.

Image: lili sams/ mashable

After recording the helmet, two seconds scan was taken with only the cowl to capture the exact shape of my head for the mold.

After capturing my manager in the helmet, two seconds scan was taken with the lining cap.

Image: lili sams/ mashable

My Precision Fit scan experience, which took about five minutes, was only a demo. Riddell won’t be attaining me a helmet of my own, due to cost and day constraints; musicians normally get their helmets four to six weeks after the scan.

But a scan is just the start for the players who will depend on the helmets on the field this upcoming season. First, Riddell engineers import each players’ scan data into CAD design software to recreate the exact surface and manager placement for make. Utilizing the scan data, the eight-pad custom linings are then machined( cut) from the energy-managing substance, which Thad Ide, Riddell’s Senior Vice President of Research and Product Development, told me is a composite polyurethane, created in order to possess “multiple densities tuned to perform the space we want it to perform.”

The liner feels more solid than the air pockets in helmets I wore back in the day, and it’s to take in order to “grow” to match the surface of its wearers head, kind of like an additional protective layer of recollection foam.

The Precision Fit helmet lining.

Image: lili sams/ mashable

Ide didn’t share exactly how much a Precision Fit helmet will cost for each individual player because it’s a prototype, but one of Riddell’s standard Speedflex units costs $409.99, so a custom fit would presumably be even more expensive. Instead, Riddell will offer the custom helmets as an option for squads to buy in majority, which Ide said is standard practice already across all levels of football. He doesn’t envisage expenditure will be a problem for smaller programs in the future.

“Scaleability and affordability are important to us on this platform, ” he told. “Were rolling it out for huge colleges and professional squads, but as we scale it I can see this becoming an affordable option for high schools, junior highs, youth programs these are all things were working on.”

The Precision Fit helmets are made to last for a player’s entire career, too, which could help with affordability. The headgear “wouldve been” reconditioned and re-certified each year by Riddell which is standard protocol for all football helmets at every level of play-act already, as Ide said it “wouldve been” “atypical” for even a high school program to not recondition its helmets every year so the helmets will conceivably perform as well after a few seasons as it did new.

Smarter innovation

Precision Fit is just a step in Riddell’s plan to deliver the football helmet in line with modern engineering. Ide said the company has two distinct evolution paths: one focused on harnessing sensors and computing to capture impact the necessary data for its future work, another for the more immediately pressing content of a helmet maker, manager protection.

“Riddell invested more than 10 years ago in head impact surveillance and helmet-based sensor engineering that can give impact data regarding the field to the sideline, ” he told. “Weve collected about five million impacts, and we have enough of a database now that you can really meet variations in impact profiles. We think were at the phase that we are able to song helmets to be optimized for playing point, skills and capacity, because musicians meet different types of impact profiles depending on those factors.”

Ide said integrated sensor tech and position-specific helmets will be expected in helmets in as little as five years, and individual “impact profiles” tracking their on-field crashes will give players, tutors, and medical faculties better insight into each individual’s playing style and how best to protect their heads.

The company has a plan to bring its sensors and manager protection together by 2022.

Image: riddell

Riddell is still far from the only company working to improve football helmet design its biggest challenger, Schutt( which claims 37 percentage of the NFL market ), liberated two brand-new models last year, the Vengeance Z1 0 and the Vengeance Pro, which tout brand-new lightweight develops with high safety ratings. The two companies are currently locked in a legal battle over patent violation but a brand-new player is primed to enter the scene.

Starting this year, NFL and college musicians will be allowed to wear headgear made by Vicis, a Seattle-based startup whose Zero1 helmet is designed to yield to contact and “deform” at the point of impact, unlike Schutt and Riddell’s designs, which have rigid outer shells and pads to cushion the manager after each crash. The Zero1 was the highest-performing helmet in an NFL-sponsored safety exam, so it is very likely to introduced by musicians looking for increased protection.

In this field, competition and new innovations should be more than welcome by the helmet makers and everyone else involved in the effort to stimulate the game safer. For now, though, increased levels of safety is all these helmet makers can offer musicians and teams.

Concussions, which most typically occur in football when a high level impact causes the brain to strike the skull and have started to swell, can’t simply be prevented by a better accessory helmet. They’re an unavoidable reality for the sport as it’s currently played, and no helmet can promise a truly concussion-free football suffer so delivering brand-new safety engineerings onto the field will be integral to football’s future.

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