Samsung Electronics Australia has spearhead the development of brainBAND, the wearable tech that will allow scientists to solve the problems of brain injury in contact sport. And Leo Burnett Sydney has curated the eight part content series that tracks its journey.
“The ultimate goal is that by understanding the dangers of repeated concussions, brainBAND may help prevent life changing injuries at every level of the game, and protect the next generation of players,” stated neuroscientist, Dr Alan Pearce, who worked with industrial designer Braden Wilson to develop brainBAND.
Brain injury – or concussion – is one of the inglorious effects of contact sports like rugby and American football. Only the worst cases are visible. Most incidences go unreported because symptoms are hard to see.
In the US, the subject became part of conversations following the release of the film, Concussion, in 2013 which focuses on chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) brain damage suffered by players in the NFL in America. CTE can cause a loss of movement skills, memory issues, aggression, anxiety, depression, dementia and in some tragic cases, suicide or death. The disease can only be diagnosed after death.
In Australia, concussion has become a major problem for rugby with the topic flaring up in the media and among school parent groups.
To help solve the problem, Samsung Australia initiated the development of brainBAND, a piece of wearable technology designed to facilitate research into concussion in sports. brainBAND was developed through Samsung’s Launching People program, an initiative that brings together two experts from different backgrounds to demonstrate how technology can investigate and help solve real challenges facing society.
The brainBAND prototype can track impacts to the head in contact sports in real-time. Its data can be used better understand concussion in sport and the ongoing impact on the brain.
A specially designed headband houses sensors at the back of the head that measure the force of an impact. Their information are relayed via an app to medics, referees and coaches, all in real-time through the use of Samsung devices.
A series of LED lights embedded in the headband indicate the level of impact of a hit: yellow, orange and red for high alert, meaning a player should be taken off the field for assessment.
All impact data will be recorded and logged so that, over time, players can obtain a more complete picture of the forces their brain has been put under.
The eighth and final part of Leo Burnett’s content series traces brainBAND’s development:
The Pool Collective produced Leo Burnett’s content series with sound studio, We Love Jam.
Australian star football player and Samsung brand ambassador, Israel Folau, was the first to trial the prototype. “I think it’d be great if every player in Australia had access to this kind of technology to make contact sports safer for current and future generations.”
“Developing the brainBand has been an eight-month journey, but we’re still only beginning to understand the dangers of concussion,” stated Leo Burnett Sydney joint executive creative director, Vince Lagana. “It’s exciting to know that we’re helping to expand that knowledge with technology that can provide real-time feedback–an essential part of reducing the alarm caused by concussions.”
Co-executive creative director, Gran McAloon added, “BrainBand technology doing what it does best: serving the needs of human beings. This approach has underpinned all the innovation work we have done for Samsung and it’s our ambition as an agency to create this sort of work in the future.”
Pearce and Wilson will continue their research and development in concussion.