Radar Gun Reveals Concussions
CREDIT: Flickr via Schl
Sidney Crosby, the Pittsburgh Penguins' star, sits out the National Hockey League playoffs with a concussion. The National Football League Players Association threatens to boycott an entire NFL season if players don't get more head-injury-related health care. So many soldiers return home with brain damage that the U.S. military has a unit dedicated to studying it.
Those trends have led doctors to look ever more carefully for signs of concussion, and the engineers at Georgia Tech have designed a radar device that may help health care providers find incidents of traumatic brain injury faster and more easily than ever before. By using a specially designed radar gun, researchers can analyze subtle differences in a person's gait to determine whether or not that person has sustained a concussion.
We have a pretty small pool right now, but even with that you can see that we're starting to tease apart the people that are concussed from those that are not, said Kristin Bing, a research engineer on the project.
As a person walks toward and then away from the machine, the radar gun throws out microwave signals that hit the body and bounce back.
How these signals reflect tells the computer both how fast the person is moving and in what direction. The computer can then look at the movements of the torso, feet and arms separately.
The engineers first looked at how people walk when they are wearing goggles to simulate drunkennessa rough estimate of what it's like to have a concussion. They found that people walk differently when wearing the goggles than they do without them, exhibiting aberrations that the radar system can detect. Next the individuals were asked to do the same task while reciting the months of the year in reverse. With this, the trend intensified.
Although the system collects very technical information, it reads out in a simple way. And if the system were scaled down enough, Bing told InnovationNewsDaily, coaches and soldiers could carry it right onto the field of play or the field of battle, where concussions happen the most, allowing them to diagnose brain trauma as soon as it happens.
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