Winthrop, ME, United States
Winthrop, ME, United States

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Caccese V.,University of Maine, United States | Ferguson J.,Alba-Technic, LLC | Edgecomb M.,University of Maine, United States | Seidi M.,University of Maine, United States | Hajiaghamemar M.,University of Maine, United States
Experimental Techniques | Year: 2014

A test method based upon a Hybrid-III head and neck assembly that includes measurement of both linear and angular acceleration is investigated for potential use in impact testing of protective headgear. The test apparatus is based upon a twin wire drop test system modified with the head/neck assembly and associated flyarm components. This study represents a preliminary assessment of the test apparatus for use in the development of protective headgear designed to prevent injury due to falls. By including angular acceleration in the test protocol it becomes possible to assess and intentionally reduce this component of acceleration. Comparisons of standard and reduced durometer necks, various anvils, front, rear, and side drop orientations, and response data on performance of the apparatus are provided. Injury measures summarized for an unprotected drop include maximum linear and angular acceleration, head injury criteria (HIC), rotational injury criteria (RIC), and power rotational head injury criteria (PRHIC). Coefficient of variation for multiple drops ranged from 0.4 to 6.7% for linear acceleration. Angular acceleration recorded in a side drop orientation resulted in highest coefficient of variation of 16.3%. The drop test apparatus results in a reasonably repeatable test method that has potential to be used in studies of headgear designed to reduce head impact injury. © 2014, Society for Experimental Mechanics.


Hajiaghamemar M.,University of Maine, United States | Seidi M.,University of Maine, United States | Ferguson J.R.,Alba-Technic, LLC | Caccese V.,University of Maine, United States
Annals of Biomedical Engineering | Year: 2015

The kinematics and kinetics of head impact due to a standing fall onto a hard surface are summarized. Head injury due to impact from falls represents a significant problem, especially for older individuals. When the head is left unprotected during a fall, the impact severity can be high enough to cause significant injury or even death. To ascertain the range of head impact parameters, the dynamic response was captured for the pedestrian version of the 5th percentile female and 50th percentile male Hybrid III anthropomorphic test dummies as they were dropped from a standing position with different initial postures. Five scenarios of falls were considered including backward falls with/without hip flexion, forward falls with/without knee flexion and lateral falls. The results show that the head impact parameters are dependent on the fall scenario. A wide range of impact parameters was observed in 107 trials. The 95% prediction interval for the peak translational acceleration, peak angular acceleration, peak force, impact translational velocity and peak angular velocity are 146–502 g, 8.8–43.3 krad/s2, 3.9–24.5 kN, 2.02–7.41 m/s, and 12.9–70.3 rad/s, respectively. © 2015, Biomedical Engineering Society.


Ferguson J.,Alba-Technic, LLC | Castle S.,University of California at Los Angeles | Harada N.,University of California at Los Angeles | Caccese V.,University of Maine, United States
NSTI: Advanced Materials - TechConnect Briefs 2015 | Year: 2015

This paper summarizes efforts to develop a primary prevention intervention to reduce traumatic brain injury (TBI) for older adults and for persons prone to falls based upon a patented highly efficient dilatant/honeycomb impact resistant material system. The protective headgear is designed for aesthetic appeal and comfort by using advanced materials and customized manufacturing techniques. Currently two major issues to commercialization related to manufacturing are being resolved; the need for custom fit for efficacy and comfort, and the need to automate the manufacturing process of this individualized product. Proper fit enhances the functionality and eliminates the need for stigmatizing straps that are typically used for retention in other helmet protection products. Customized design will lead to a value added product that enhances function and compliance.


Caccese V.,University of Maine, United States | Ferguson J.,Alba-Technic, LLC | Lloyd J.,James A Haley Va Hospital | Edgecomb M.,University of Maine, United States | And 2 more authors.
Experimental Techniques | Year: 2016

A test method based upon a Hybrid-III head and neck assembly that includes measurement of both linear and angular acceleration is investigated for potential use in impact testing of protective headgear. The test apparatus is based upon a twin wire drop test system modified with the head/neck assembly and associated flyarm components. This study represents a preliminary assessment of the test apparatus for use in the development of protective headgear designed to prevent injury due to falls. By including angular acceleration in the test protocol it becomes possible to assess and intentionally reduce this component of acceleration. Comparisons of standard and reduced durometer necks, various anvils, front, rear, and side drop orientations, and response data on performance of the apparatus are provided. Injury measures summarized for an unprotected drop include maximum linear and angular acceleration, head injury criteria (HIC), rotational injury criteria (RIC), and power rotational head injury criteria (PRHIC). Coefficient of variation for multiple drops ranged from 0.4 to 6.7 % for linear acceleration. Angular acceleration recorded in a side drop orientation resulted in highest coefficient of variation of 16.3 %. The drop test apparatus results in a reasonably repeatable test method that has potential to be used in studies of headgear designed to reduce head impact injury. © 2016, The Society for Experimental Mechanics, Inc.


Caccese V.,University of Maine, United States | Ferguson J.R.,Alba-Technic, LLC | Edgecomb M.A.,University of Maine, United States
Composite Structures | Year: 2013

This paper presents a study of the impact resistance of honeycomb structure with the purpose to mitigate impact forces. The objective is to aid in the choice of optimal parameters to minimize the thickness of the honeycomb structure while providing adequate protection to prevent injury due to head impact. Studies are presented using explicit dynamic finite element analysis representing the case of an unprotected drop of a rigid impactor onto a simulated floor consisting of vinyl composition tile and concrete. Analysis of honeycomb material to reduce resulting accelerations is also presented where parameters such as honeycomb material modulus, wall thickness, cell geometry and structure depth are compared to the unprotected case. A simplified optimization analysis technique using a genetic algorithm is presented to demonstrate the use of this method to select a minimum honeycomb depth to achieve a desired acceleration level at a given level of input energy. It is important to select a minimum material depth in that smaller dimensions lead toward more aesthetic design that increase the likelihood that the device is used. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.


Seidi M.,University of Maine, United States | Hajiaghamemar M.,University of Maine, United States | Ferguson J.,Alba-Technic, LLC | Caccese V.,University of Maine, United States
SAE Technical Papers | Year: 2015

Falls in the elderly population is an important concern to individuals and in the healthcare industry. When the head is left unprotected, head impact levels can reach upwards of 500 g (gravitational acceleration), which is a level that can cause serious injury or death. A protective system for a fall injury needs to be designed with specific criteria in mind including energy protection level, thickness, stiffness, and weight among others. The current study quantifies the performance of a protective head gear design for persons prone to falls. The main objective of this paper is to evaluate the injury mitigation of head protection gear made from a patented system of polyurethane honeycomb and dilatant materials. To that end, a twin wire fall system equipped with a drop arm that includes a Hybrid-III head/neck assembly was used. The head was instrumented with an accelerometer array. The test apparatus captures impact velocity and translational acceleration components simultaneously. Tests were performed on two different material systems for frontal, side and rear impact cases. The honeycomb-dilatant system for each design consists of a cast 6mm thick, polyurethane honeycomb in the front section and a 6mm thick, honeycomb in the rear, that are nominally 55 Shore A and 40 Shore A durometer, respectively and the outer shell was a dilatant material. The peak translational acceleration at the head center of gravity (C. G.) and the Head Injury Criterion (HIC) were captured to evaluate the performance of two material systems. A reduction of the peak translational acceleration and HIC during impact was observed. Dropping the head/neck assembly equipped with the protection system from 45cm height (rear impact) resulted in translational acceleration and HIC reduction from 308g to 82g and 879 to 136, respectively for the thicker material system. Copyright © 2015 SAE International.


Grant
Agency: National Science Foundation | Branch: | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 224.65K | Year: 2014

The broader impact/commercial potential of this project lies in the ability to manufacture customized non-stigmatizing, attractive headgear containing advanced materials to provide protection in older adults from head injury as a result from a fall. Injury from falls is a severe and growing problem with the personal consequence of potential severe injury and economic consequences to individuals, families and the healthcare system. Initially targeted to older adults, this product can be used by persons who seek to stay active without the fear of injury from falling. The commercial product is an aesthetic design that relies on custom fit eliminating unsightly chinstraps typically found in impact resistant helmets. Manufacturing success will lead to development of other protective devices such as hip protectors and then for other susceptible body parts (wrists/elbows). Commercial success will be sales to individuals, active retirement communities, nursing homes and hospitals. Further success can be defined by the ability to license the technology and manufacturing process to leaders in other industries such as active sports including football, hockey, skiing and extreme sports. With this STTR, the manufacturing design methods will also provide hands-on experience to engineering students that can be applied to other projects in their careers. This Small Business Technology Transfer Phase I project will design a customizable, small batch manufacturing system for protective headgear to mitigate the impact from falls. The direct medical cost of falls is estimated at $30.0 billion. Customized and automated manufacturing of the headgear will alleviate the concerns highlighted in the previous compliance trials that indicated goodness of fit is essential to a marketable headgear product. This effort will solidify our ability to manufacture a non-stigmatizing headgear design in a cost-effective manner. Research objectives include quantifying parameters for a customized fit, designing and developing the automated manufacturing system for a product tailored to the individual. The research plan includes using state-of-the-art techniques in image capture and testing of the automation/customization scheme. Automation of the process will control the shape and material details of the product. Another task will evaluate the inclusion of 3-D printing as its capability is quickly maturing and it has the potential to create fully customized headgear. Phase I anticipated results include an operational version of a CAD front end system to capture head piece parameters and the design of a small batch manufacturing system to be built in Phase II.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 224.65K | Year: 2014

The broader impact/commercial potential of this project lies in the ability to manufacture customized non-stigmatizing, attractive headgear containing advanced materials to provide protection in older adults from head injury as a result from a fall. Injury from falls is a severe and growing problem with the personal consequence of potential severe injury and economic consequences to individuals, families and the healthcare system. Initially targeted to older adults, this product can be used by persons who seek to stay active without the fear of injury from falling. The commercial product is an aesthetic design that relies on custom fit eliminating unsightly chinstraps typically found in impact resistant helmets. Manufacturing success will lead to development of other protective devices such as hip protectors and then for other susceptible body parts (wrists/elbows). Commercial success will be sales to individuals, active retirement communities, nursing homes and hospitals. Further success can be defined by the ability to license the technology and manufacturing process to leaders in other industries such as active sports including football, hockey, skiing and extreme sports. With this STTR, the manufacturing design methods will also provide hands-on experience to engineering students that can be applied to other projects in their careers.



This Small Business Technology Transfer Phase I project will design a customizable, small batch manufacturing system for protective headgear to mitigate the impact from falls. The direct medical cost of falls is estimated at $30.0 billion. Customized and automated manufacturing of the headgear will alleviate the concerns highlighted in the previous compliance trials that indicated goodness of fit is essential to a marketable headgear product. This effort will solidify our ability to manufacture a non-stigmatizing headgear design in a cost-effective manner. Research objectives include quantifying parameters for a customized fit, designing and developing the automated manufacturing system for a product tailored to the individual. The research plan includes using state-of-the-art techniques in image capture and testing of the automation/customization scheme. Automation of the process will control the shape and material details of the product. Another task will evaluate the inclusion of 3-D printing as its capability is quickly maturing and it has the potential to create fully customized headgear. Phase I anticipated results include an operational version of a CAD front end system to capture head piece parameters and the design of a small batch manufacturing system to be built in Phase II.


Grant
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 933.70K | Year: 2010

DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has identified falls-related traumatic brain injury (TBI) in older adults as a significant and unrecognized public health issue; with 8000 deaths from falls- related TBI in older adults and 56,000 hospitalizations, at a mean cost of 16,006/ 19,191 for women/men gt64 years reported in 2005; prompting a public service campaign4. The challenges of maintaining independence in mobility and physiologic conditioning for wellness while avoiding injury due to impaired balance can contribute to the downward spiraling to frailty and loss of independence. The very deficits associated with many chronic conditions with aging that lead to mobility and balance difficulties, often contribute to cognitive changes that limit the effectiveness of rehabilitation and safety training and overall awareness of self-limitations15. Some of the increase incidence in and mortality from TBI is associated with anticoagulation therapy, including aspirin and the 2 million new users of warfarin each year12. To address this challenge, with the support of NIH Phase I SBIR funds, a new lightweight, un-obtrusive medical headgear with over 90% impact force reduction using was developed using advanced composites. The goal of the research component of the Phase II proposal is to 1) optimize material characteristics using data from Phase I impact testing and conduct numerical modeling using finite element analysis, 2) conduct biochemical evaluation of these advanced materials on designer-enhanced prototypes, 3) perform clinical trials with qualitative analysis based on indepth interviews and focus groups on patients, family members and staff to develop tools to evaluate compliance and decisions to use the product and 4) Develop a standard for headgear protection for patients at risk of same level falls. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: Falls-related traumatic brain injury has become a significant and unrecognized public health issue. There is a need for a new lightweight, attractive, unobtrusive medical headgear that can be customized to the style, needs, comfort and protection to provide higher compliance and application to patient populations that includes older adults with balance impairment, dementia, active seniors on blood thinners, acute care hospital cases at very high risk for falls to reduce the health consequences of falls-related traumatic brain injury. Outcomes tools to evaluate the effectiveness of social marketing and academic detailing will be developed.


Trademark
Alba-Technic, LLC | Date: 2011-04-19

Protective headgear consisting of a special soft, cloth-like material that encircles the head and is designed to protect the posterior and inferior portions of the skull from a standing fall, used preventatively by the elderly and persons with medical condition who are injury prone, as well as for rehabilitation from a post-traumatic brain injury, and excluding protective headgear worn during participation in recreational and athletic events.

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