An engineering student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst has created a helmet that may help prevent thousands of sports enthusiasts from accidental deaths.
Brycen Spencer says that his Wireless Impact Guardian (WIG) signals for help even when the wearer is unconscious, a feature that evidences a giant leap forward in helmet safety.
"The WIG will be activated when it is buckled on," says Spencer.
"If you fall and hit your head, the helmet will detect that and beep for a minute or so. If you don't turn it off, WIG sends for help, either directly to 911 or to a third-party service that relays the emergency call to 911. Included with the message will be a GPS location giving your geographical coordinates so the emergency team knows precisely where you are," he adds.
Spenser, who has nicknamed his innovation 'The OnStar of Helmets', says that it would be a boon for motorcyclists, bicyclists, ATV enthusiasts and others, especially those venturing into remote areas.
Although skiers and others use a similar invention called personal locator beacon in case of accidents, such devices require manual activation.
There is also a football helmet that detects if the wearer suffers a concussion, but nothing on the market phones for help automatically like the WIG.
Spencer says that his helmet comprises an accelerometer that detects any impact that exceeds a predetermined safety level, and a communications device to provide the user's location for rescue crews.
According to him, all the electronics are small and relatively inexpensive, allowing them to fit in the current helmet configuration with little physical modification or increase in overall helmet price.
Spensor believes that his WIG may revolutionise the helmet industry.