New Army helmet to measure head impact

Sensors will be used to relay data to medical files.

Mark Rutherford
The military establishment's ever increasing reliance on technology and whiz-bang gadgetry impacts us as consumers, investors, taxpayers and ultimately as the defended. Our mission here is to bring some of these products and concepts to your attention based on carefully selected criteria such as importance to national security, originality, collateral damage to the treasury and adaptability to yard maintenance-but not necessarily in that order. E-mail him at markr@milapp.com. Disclosure.
Mark Rutherford

Three words you don't want to hear around the Simbex's new shock measuring helmet. "Wait! Wear this."

The U.S. Army has awarded $932,000 to Lebanon, N.H.-based Simbex for 20 Head Impact Telemetry (HIT) System-equipped helmets to be used to "measure the shock from explosive devices." The Army wants to determine the amount of head trauma soldiers receive while in combat.


"There has been tremendous interest in better understanding the biomechanics of brain injury following both blunt trauma and blast events," Simbex founder Richard Greenwald said. The technology is already in use by college and high school football players, where it has recorded more than 370,000 impacts, according to the company's Web site.

The helmets are outfitted with sensors that measure the amount of force dealt to the head when in and about the presence of an explosion, according to the company. The impact data can then be relayed into a soldiers' medical file.

Soldiers may receive multiple head injuries in combat that could go unnoticed until they begin to have short-term memory problems or changes in attitude, the company says. In theory, the helmet would provide a list of impact- or blast-related head injuries sustained by the soldier in case of mental or physical problems down the road.

That sounds good if you want to collect disability, but what if you want to run for public office?