Save this content for laterSave this content on your device for later, even while offline Sign in with FacebookSign in with your Facebook account Close

Colorado Springs company developing new concussion mitigation technology

June 10, 2013 Updated: June 11, 2013 at 8:56 pm
0
photo - Troy Fodemski has developed a prototype of a new helmet that minimizes concussions. He talks about the mechanics behind his prototype at his business, Concussion Mitigation Technologies on Wednesday, June 5, 2013. (The Gazette/Jerilee Bennett)
Troy Fodemski has developed a prototype of a new helmet that minimizes concussions. He talks about the mechanics behind his prototype at his business, Concussion Mitigation Technologies on Wednesday, June 5, 2013. (The Gazette/Jerilee Bennett) 

In October 2009, Troy Fodemski of Colorado Springs came to a sudden realization as he watched an NFL player with a concussion get helped off the field:

"If they can install a microphone and speakers in helmets, why not a microprocessor to prevent concussions?" he wondered. "Someone must have thought of this before."

They hadn't.

So the longtime Lockheed Martin engineer used his skills to develop technology that is poised to revolutionize helmet safety and reverse the national trend of increased concussions among athletes and the military. In 2011, Fodemski started Concussion Mitigation Technologies LLC, which has since garnered four patents for two helmets and related technology.

One patent, granted in December 2011 and now trademarked as "The Smart Helmet," is for a battery-powered microprocessor system that notes the location of the impact on the helmet and fills airbags in that spot from a refillable, pen-sized carbon dioxide cartridge. With data collected by technology under a second CMT patent, the microprocessor also anticipates where the brain will bounce inside the skull, and activates airbags at the secondary impact site - an important feature, because much of the damage occurs when the brain bounces off the interior of the skull following the initial hit. That additional injury results in tears and a disruption of neural pathways, which leads to headache, amnesia, confusion, nausea and slurred speech..

The reaction of the Smart Helmet from the initial blow to the firing of all airbags occurs in a span of 15 milliseconds.

A third patent measures the torque on the neck when someone receives a blow to the head.

"No one does that right now, and it will be a major development," said CMT chief engineer Wemimo Agbesola.

Further research resulted in a fourth patent, the "Electroconductive Nanogel Helmet," which uses a nanosponge inside the helmet walls to house and activate the airbags and microprocessor.

The start-up company, which has six part-time employees, including Fodemski, hopes to receive funding from a four-year, $60 million initiative by the NFL and General Electric that will award money to companies developing new imaging technology and other approaches to prevent, detect and manage traumatic brain injury and concussions. That money could go toward developing prototypes and paying the employees.

Fodemski said the company also is pursuing international patents, and some manufacturers, including Bell, are considering the Smart Helmet.

The technological need isn't just for adults. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that U.S. emergency rooms treated 173,000 traumatic brain injuries in 2010, including sports concussions for those 19 and younger.

Fodemski, who holds a master's degree in systems engineering from Southern California and continues to work for Lockheed, knows his ideas will not stop concussions but could mitigate the damage.

"That may never happen, but we know we can do better than the technology out there now," he said.

Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Incognito Mode Your browser is in Incognito mode

You vanished!

We welcome you to read all of our stories by signing into your account. If you don't have a subscription, please subscribe today for daily award winning journalism.

Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

It appears that you value local journalism. Thank you.

Subscribe today for unlimited digital access with 50% fewer ads for a faster browsing experience.

Already a Subscriber? LOGIN HERE

Wake up with today's top stories in your inbox

Wake up with today's top stories in your inbox

Already a print subscriber?
Already a digital subscriber?
 
This is your last FREE article for the month
This is your last FREE article for the month

Subscribe now and enjoy Unlimited Digital Access to Gazette.com

Only 99 cents for Unlimited Digital Access for 1 month
Then $2.31/week, billed monthly, cancel anytime
Already a print subscriber?
Already a digital subscriber?

 
You have reached your article limit for the month
You have reached your article limit for the month

We hope that you've enjoyed your complimentary access to Gazette.com

Only 99 cents for Unlimited Digital Access for 1 month
Then $2.31/week, billed monthly, cancel anytime
Already a print subscriber?
Already a digital subscriber?

 
articles remaining
×
Thank you for your interest in local journalism.
Gain unlimited access, 50% fewer ads and a faster browsing experience.