Smart Helmet Tells You And Rescuers That You've Taken A Hard Hit To The Head
I've personally taken a few pretty hard hits to the head, and while not health-threatening, they were definitely scary and disorienting. Perhaps the worst part about any blow to the noggin is lying around with black or fuzzy vision unable to go get help. My most recent injury came while snowboarding when I fell headlong onto some hard ice. I wanted to get up and quickly make it down to the patrol office to get checked out, but my vision was blurry and my mind sluggish and it took a while to actually navigate there.
In the future, we may not have to communicate head injuries; our genius helmet may do it for us. A group of student researchers at Northeastern University recently designed a helmet that is capable of assessing the severity of the impact and conveying it to you through a simple, color-based system. The helmet measures acceleration with sensors and includes an LCD screen that can flash different colors based on how hard of a hit you take--green is for light impacts and red is for "Get your ass up and get checked out before you go to bed and don't wake up!"
Currently only in prototype form, the system is designed to prevent severe head injuries from going untreated and causing graver health problems in those affected. The team also envisions some type of communication system, presumably equipped with GPS, that could automatically contact local emergency responders in the event of a hard crash. This way you may be unconscious, but you won't be helpless.
The work on the helmet is ongoing. The researchers behind it envision it for both sport and military uses. Assuming the helmet could be produced and sold for a reasonable cost, I really like the potential for it.