E. CYNOR, M. FOLKERTS, L. SCHERGER, A. SOEWITO, R. UPADHYAYA
A way to address unknown concussions in athletes in order to reduce further injury from concussion.
(based on interviews from 7 subjects working in university athletic programs)
After interviewing experts in sports medicine, we knew that accuracy, cost and real-time data acquisition were the most heavily weighted customer needs. From these customer needs we developed the following brainstorming question to help us generate concepts: how might we accurately detect concussion and dehydration during training/games in a relatively low cost/convenient way? From this brainstorming session we realized that we needed to edit our needs statement to address just the diagnosis of concussions and not dehydration because in our interviews the customers rated concussions as the most important health factor. Our next brainstorming session then involved finding a way to address concussions and resulting brain injuries in athletes. From this session we were able to come up with four concepts.
To evaluate our four concepts based on the most valued customer needs, we created a matrix to compare our concept and the datum (physician in a clinical setting) side by side. From this matrix we decided to move forward with concept #4, a flexible wearable sensor that can be moved according to sport, and a cognition/memory/hearing sideline test.
HOUSE OF QUALITY:
To further evaluate our concept against current competitors, we used the house of quality to rate each company on our identified customer needs. Based on this evaluation, our concept had advantages over the current competitors especially on cost, data acquisition speed, and user interface.
ConcussAlert solves the problem of unknown concussions in athletes to prevent further injury from concussion. It utilizes two-factor authentication for a more accurate and inexpensive method of diagnosis. Over time, subconcussive hits contribute to extensive brain damage such as chronic traumatic encephalopathy. Existing solutions on the market are expensive and only marketed toward football players. Through stakeholder analysis, market analysis, and extensive interviews the need for an accurate, inexpensive, and non-specific concussion sensor was clear. After many rounds of brainstorming and prototyping, ConcussAlert was created. ConcussAlert includes a moveable sensor that can be placed in many different spots on the body and in many different athletic accessories. It utilizes cognitive testing apps to be used together on the sideline that track individual athletes’ concussions and further test for other signs of concussion. ConcussAlert brings accurate concussion testing to a wider range of sports and wider range of people with different economic backgrounds.
Design concept sketch for the final prototype
Our final concept is a flexible wearable sensor (sensor that can be placed on headband, helmet, mouthguard) + cognition/ memory/hearing sideline test. This had the most benefits from our Pugh Chart analysis based on cost, accessibility, real-time testing, diagnostic capability and ability to be used by a wide variety of athletes. We think that this concept will improve concussion detection with our two step process, and it will use both quantitative and qualitative methods to do so. Going forward with this design, we will be using both hardware and software to create an innovative product that differs from the current products on the market that revolve around focusing on one detection method. We feel that using multiple testing methods will alert trainers in real-time of dangerous head acceleration, but also track history to prevent gradual brain trauma. Because we are using a movable/customizable wearable sensor, we are expanding the market to reach participants in other physical activities that might experience head trauma.
Sensor in casing attached to football helmet