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InnovationSpace is an entrepreneurial joint venture among the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering and W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. The goal of its transdisciplinary education and research lab is to teach students how to develop products that create market value while serving real societal needs and minimizing impacts on the environment. Put simply, we seek to create products that are progressive, possible and profitable. At the same time, they must have a meaningful impact on the daily lives of ordinary people.

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Neurotact is the first product from “Tact” Sensor Systems. By utilizing simple sensors found in today’s smartphones in various athletic applications, Tact collects vital data for solving problems in several different sport industries. Tact’s first problem is Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). CTE is a neurological condition sustained from receiving hits while playing Football. CTE progresses from mild symptoms such as reduced attention span and headaches to more severe consequences such as dementia, speech impediments, depression, and even suicide. The chances of receiving CTE skyrocket when football players continue playing despite receiving serious head trauma in the same game.

Neurotact aims to stop athletes from playing when they’re at an increased risk of receiving head trauma. By utilizing state of the art motion sensors, Neurotact will provide live updates on how much potential head trauma the player is receiving to the coach. Using accurate, real-time updates on their players conditions, coaches can pull players out once they are at risk of receiving compounding head trauma. It’s worth noting that Neurotact separates itself from the competition by being a simple chin cup and not a full helmet. Neurotact can be outfitted onto any football helmet for only a fraction of the cost of its competitors.

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Contact sports, specifically Football are currently receiving a lot of blowback for the headtrauma that athletes get from playing them. At the forefront of this movement for more safety in contact sports is a condition known as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). CTE causes a lot of awful symptoms including dementia, speech impediments, depression, and suicide. The single biggest leading factor to CTE is successive head-trauma, otherwise known as compounding concussions. There is a huge issue with players getting back onto the field after having just received a concussion simply because they’ve said, “I’m fine”.

The industry that has grown around Football is grand in scope and the recent recognition of Football’s connection to CTE is changing the sport landscape. Policy makers of college football and the NFL understand that the problem of CTE needs to be addressed. But, they also understand the market appeal of football and the revenue it brings in. The unfortunate truth is that changing the game rules too much to ensure the safety of players could greatly hurt the revenue streams. As a result, policy makers have been hesitant to implement big changes to the game rules that could save players from head-trauma. Luckily for them, Neurotact is that big change.

The single biggest factor in developing CTE is successive head-trauma. Hence, a reliable head-trauma monitoring system that can be efficiently integrated into the current equipment infrastructure is needed. Neurotact is exactly that. Neurotact is a modular attachment that can be quickly attached and removed from the back of a football helmet or any other collision sport helmet with slight modifications to the design. In this module, there are nine motion sensors that can be found inside the average smartphone. Using this simple, yet, incredibly versatile technology provides an accurate estimation of the head-trauma that a player is receiving in live time can be created. Coaches can observe this feed on technology such as an iPad or smartphone and pull players out that are at an increased- risk of head trauma before players receive compound concussions.

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