Hackaday Prize Entry: Diagnosing Concussions

Athletes of every age receive a lot of blows to the head. After a few years of this and a lot of concussions, symptoms similar to Alzheimer’s can appear. For his Hackaday Prize entry, [Mihir] wanted to build a simple device that could be given to high school coaches that would diagnose concussions. He came up with HeadsUp, a device so simple even a high school gym teacher could use it.

The origins of HeadsUp began as an augmented reality device, but after realizing that was a difficult project, pivoted to something a bit easier and even more useful. HeadsUp tracks the wearer’s eye movements with a webcam while a series of LEDs strobe back and forth in front of the wearer’s eyes. This is the fastest and easiest way to test for a concussion, and making this automated means it’s the perfect device to throw in a gym bag.

12 thoughts on “Hackaday Prize Entry: Diagnosing Concussions

  1. Athletes of every age?
    isn’t it pretty much just american footbal that has this problem? Its enough of a problem to make television shows about it but i haven’t heard of it in any other sports. Is it right to call an american football player an athlete? I’m sure everyone has seen the pie chart of how much time they actually play for. then again sprinters are only on the job for about 9 seconds or so.

    1. Thats just not true. Ice hockey, wrestling, rugby, and almost any other contact sport causes concussions. Even soccer can cause concussions when players go for headers and smash their heads together. Its a serious problem in many major sports.

    2. Worldwide, soccer is probably by far the worst, and not just due to popularity. Concussions are quite common, and the attitude is pretty much to play through, though this is changing a little at the youth level. Per capita, I would guess it it number one in team sports.

      Recently, there was an NPR piece about this– I don’t recall which show, but it was springtime this year.

    3. Even defensive linemen can cover 40yds in under 6s . Something you’re average person can’t do. Sure the sport has breaks but not every athlete needs to be a marathon runner or strongman to be an athlete.

      What definition of athlete are you using?

  2. False Controversy.

    Simple logic says ‘yes- obviously if an object is propelled towards a similar object that is also being propelled towards the first then most likely both objects will be torn apart by the other.

    I work construction- here in a few years when I really start feeling the years of hard work will I be able to sue my employer for my arthritis? My stiff knees or my back that is always tight? Then why should a football player or pro wrestler?

    1. In some parts of the world your employer would be required to make sure you were trained to minimize work related damages and even be held partially responsible if you did your work incorrectly. However in most of those parts you wouldn’t be able to sue anybody, failure to provide a safe workplace would be a criminal offense…

  3. My only concern with any concussion testers is that they really need to make sure the false negative rate is really, really low. If not, then many people will believe they are fine despite being concussed.

    1. My concern is gaming the device in the first place. I have worked with coaches that do everything but say to the athletes that they should cheat on their baseline test so they won’t be sidelined in the case of a concussion. Kids that have been clean coldcocked have passed the followup and been eligible to play, due to cheating on the baseline.

      A system that is relatively absolute and avoids the need for baseline comparison that can be gamed would be at the top of my list.

    1. The “treatment” for concussion is rest, let yourself heal, and what this will do is prevent the coach from saying to the player, “Ah, you just got your bell rung, get back in there!” People can play with a minor concussion but just like playing with a minor broken leg another hit in that condition can really f*ck you up!

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