Last year, whilst playing representative rugby, I sustained a concussion whilst wearing a headgear. This sparked my interest for my school project, to build a headgear that incorporates force sensitive resistors to better understand forces involved in the game I want to continue playing. Here I could measure the force applied to crucial areas of the head while replicating rugby contact.
Welcome to the forum
Sounds like a really worthwhile project and a tricky engineering problem.
Tim has written a guide to using force sensitive resistors with a Raspberry Pi that is well worth a read.
There are also some other kinds of sensors that could be helpful. For example, if you had an accelerometer in the headgear you could measure the acceleration in each direction to try and view the shocks that occur and abrupt changes in speed. Each accelerometer will be rated to measure a different amount of G-forces and with different accuracy but would be a useful insight.
The hardest part of this project will probably be finding a way to measure all these forces without breaking your test device, or influencing the results of your tests. To start with I’d recommend building a super basic “proof of concept” device, it may not be able to take the full shock loads, or be discrete enough to wear during a real match, but should be able to detect a simulated hit and represent it in some way.
Recreating Tim’s guide with a smaller microcontroller like the Raspberry Pi Pico, and adding a PiicoDev accelerometer would probably be where I’d start then reassess based on the results you get.
Thank you so much and I apologise for my late reply. School has been busy as always. I’m really excited to implement these ideas you have suggested. I am planning to as you say begin with small prototype tests and eventually find a safe way construct them within the foam of the headgear.
I love the ideas of the accelerometers. Would the ones available from core electronics be the right ones to purchase?
I will give the Tim’s guide a go and keep updated.
I think the things to consider for picking an accelerometer are:
- Does it have enough measurement range to capture a concussion-causing event?
- Does it measure fast enough to capture the event properly
Since you’d know more about the forces and timescales involved I’ll leave that bit to you.
You might also want to take a look at the existing research on this topic as well. A lot of research is locked behind a pay wall, but you can filter by free articles like below:
Let me know if you have any followup questions
Brilliant! Thank you so much. Immensely helpful.