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CU Denver start-up develops high-tech helmet padding


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: September 5th, 2018

A start-up from the University of Colorado (CU) Denver is developing a novel padding material to be used in helmets across a range of sports and industries.

Impressio Inc. is lining helmets with a patented liquid crystal elastomer to make them better at absorbing a hard impact. The NFL, which has been working to address concussions and head injuries among players, has granted Impressio a total of $171,000 to develop the technology, though the company is not solely focused on football helmets.

“The NFL is sexy, but if this material works in their helmets, it will work in military helmets, for baseball, for lacrosse,” says Amir Torbati, CU Denver professor and co-founder of Impressio alongside professor Chris Yakacki.

The start-up is testing its material using a pneumatic ram impactor, which launches a 45-pound rod at the padded helmet at 15 miles per hour. The method will help Impressio through its current research and development stage, with the ultimate goal of creating a helmet that surpasses even the latest technologies.

“You still have larger, faster people than ever before running into each other at top speed,” says Roger Pielke Jr., director of the Sports Governance Center at CU’s Department of Athletics. “I think it will be a long time before we will have enough evidence to say new technology has had any impact on the game.”

Source: The Denver Post

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