Abstract

The objective of this project is to address the concern of traumatic brain injuries, which include concussions, by designing a product to better protect the head from damage upon impact. Concussions impact the quality of life for those who suffer one (or many), both in the short-term and long-term phases of their life. Current protective equipment on the market fall short of addressing the urgent need for higher quality and reliable headwear to reduce brain injury. Recently, high tech solutions for football helmets are under development, due to the public exposure of the risks and long-term disabilities that can evolve from concussions in contact activities. It is encouraging to see efforts being made to reduce concussions, and my hope is that these solutions be put into practice as soon as possible to minimize this problem.

My project aims to address the issue of concussions through a unique avenue. Although I respect the use of technology to monitor, record, and analyze data, I felt that a solution exists that could use an organic approach to reducing brain injuries. The goal was to design, develop, and manufacture a product that could offer an improvement to the existing headwear for impact sports, as well as all other applications which experience head trauma during activities. My approach, as described throughout the rest of this paper, relies on biomimetic influences, physical analysis, material research, and manufacturing methods to achieve a viable solution desperately needed to protect the mental well-being of our society, both near term and in the future.

Ultimately, the deliverable for this project will be the documentation of my research and findings, as well as a complete prototype showcasing the materials and design that evolved from the development process. The prototype is a physical, tangible object representing the crucial aspects of head protection uncovered through my studies of medicine, nature, athletics, and physics.

Publication Date

6-1-2017

Document Type

Thesis

Student Type

Graduate

Degree Name

Industrial Design (MFA)

Department, Program, or Center

School of Design (CIAS)

Advisor

Peter Byrne

Advisor/Committee Member

Gabrielle Gaustad

Advisor/Committee Member

Stan Rickel

Campus

RIT – Main Campus

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