As Christopher Yakacki, Ph.D., advised the gang of entrepreneurs, judges and followers on the NFL’s 1st & Future innovation showcase the day earlier than Tremendous Bowl LII, “We’re slightly totally different. We’re engineering professors which were obsessive about discovering new supplies to enhance human well being.”
Yakacki was referring to himself and fellow businessman Carl Frick, Ph.D., who’re among the many founders of Impressio, an organization that makes a speciality of utilizing supplies science to create options for well being issues. Their 5-minute pitch to a panel of NFL-chosen specialists gained them the 1st & Future “Developments in Protective Know-how” award.
The pitch? Yakacki, a professor at College of Colorado Denver, and Frick, a professor on the College of Wyoming, introduced their advances with a cloth referred to as a liquid crystal elastomer, which they consider might be utilized in a safer foam lining for soccer helmets. Yakacki stated throughout Impressio’s presentation that the fabric, which has been round for some time however has not but been developed right into a usable type, is very dissipative and may take in and distribute the influence of harmful hits.
“What we need to do is blur the road between a strong and a liquid. So need to maintain the structural integrity of a strong, combine it with the viscous results of liquid, and get what we’re gonna name a liquid crystal elastomer,” Yakacki stated on the occasion.
The liquid crystal elastomer rotates when it receives an influence, permitting it to soak up and disperse the power from an influence higher than the foams at present utilized in helmets and pads.
The LCE foam will supposedly have the identical form, measurement, and weight because the foams presently in use; Yakacki and his colleagues advised the 1st & Future panel that Impressio has a partnership with College of Colorado Denver to check a prototype in regulation soccer helmets. The fabric can also be customizable and could be programmed to remain in a crushed place or to recuperate to its unique form in a single to 2 seconds, Yakacki defined in response to a panel query.
“Our mannequin is definitely comparatively easy. What we need to do is we need to substitute the foams which might be at present used from simply typical business supplies and put in foams which are liquid crystalline materials,” Frick stated at 1st & Future.
“Ultimately what we consider is we will take our liquid crystalline know-how, our elastomer know-how, and we will put that instantly right into a helmet and subsequently we will improve the security of that helmet.”
Responding to a panelist’s query, Frick stated the froth is being designed for helmets proper now, however might quickly make its method into use for shoulder pads and different protecting soccer gear. The worth proper now’s steep, Yakacki stated, however as Impressio works on the fabric and secures its provide chain, LCE foam might grow to be far more reasonably priced.
With the $50,000 grant from the NFL, Impressio is hoping its know-how turns into NFL commonplace, too.