Concussion occurring in young athletes during sports is not
always easy to identify. This is partly because they may not
recognise the symptoms themselves and partly because symptoms do
not always appear immediately after a head injury.
This is what happened to MIT student Ben
Harvatine, who did not realise he had suffered concussion during
wrestling practice and carried on going, exposing his injured brain
to yet more impacts. As a result of his experience, Harvatine and a
fellow student designed the Jolt sensor to address the problem of
Only slightly bigger than the tip of your thumb, the sensor has
a unibody design that incorporates a strong flexible mounting clip
so that it can be clipped onto any form of head-worn athletic
equipment. If a dangerous impact is detected, it will vibrate to
alert the athlete and will also send a notification using Bluetooth
to paired smartphones,
such as those belonging to the coach and parents. Athletes can be
pulled off the pitch and evaluated in accordance with a cognitive
test and concussion checklist featured on the Jolt app.
Only a doctor can diagnose concussion, so if there is any
concern, the athlete should be taken to see a medical professional.
The information collected by the Jolt app can be given to the
doctor to explain what has happened, but Harvatine is keen to
emphasise that Jolt is a precautionary rather than a diagnostic
Jolt is currently seeking funding on Kickstarter following the
finalisation of the hardware design and the successful alpha
testing of the iOS application. You can pledge as little to $1
(60p) to the campaign, which is aiming to raise $60,000 (£36,200)
in total. But to receive a sensor when they begin to ship in April
2014 you will have to pledge at least $80 (£48). The Jolt duo are
also keen to make sure sensors end up in the hands of young
athletes who need them but cannot afford them, so you can also
pledge $75 (£45) to donate a sensor to someone else.