Other than the once mighty Minnesota Vikings stinking up the Metrodome, the biggest story in the National Football League this season revolves around concussions resulting from horrific hits on the field.
In response, the NFL has punished players for illegal hits, and now requires teams to post concussion guidelines in the locker rooms.
Corporate America also is getting into the act. Wake Forest University is using Toyota’s car collision software to study the effects of hits and tackles on players with the hopes of designing better football helmets.
Last week, chip maker Intel Corp. also said it’s researching the topic, partnering with universities and a major helmet manufacturer to develop computer simulations that can assess the risk of head injuries.
Key to Intel’s efforts is a collaboration with Mayo Clinic. The non-profit hospital and research group based in Rochester, Minnesota, is helping Intel develop technology that can more rapidly crunch data from brain scans of injured players. Using an upcoming supercomputer chip design called Intel MIC, the company and Mayo already have boosted processing power by 18 times.
Eventually, Intel wants to help create helmets that collects real-time collision and injury data from the field during games.