SMRT Coat helps detect concussions

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Congratulations to Han Liu, Darron Phann, Daniel Stranart and Luke Wiersma, whose Nanotechnology Engineering Capstone Design team won first place in the Innovative Design category of the Ontario Engineering Competition (OEC) at the University of Guelph.

Competing against teams from the top engineering schools in the province, Han, Daniel and Luke presented their simple method for recognizing trauma, called SMRT Coat. It indicates when an athlete has suffered a blow to the head severe enough to cause a concussion. SMRT Coat, which can be sprayed onto helmets, immediately changes colour upon impact, giving players, coaches and referees the information they need to take fast action to protect the athlete from further injury.

Undiagnosed concussions risk long-term complications

While 3 million concussions are detected in the United States each year, as many or more go undetected. Injured athletes who don’t know the extent of their head injuries may persevere and, while striving to perform their best, make their injury worse. Most people recover from a concussion, but failure to rest when necessary risks the onset of acute symptoms, including headaches, amnesia, Post-Concussive Syndrome (PCS) and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE).

Early concussion identification is crucial, and yet traditional detection methods are expensive and perform inconsistently. SMRT Coat, on the other hand, is an affordable and easy-to-use way to determine that a concussion-causing impact has occurred. It provides a quick, definitive sign that the player needs to be assessed.

Ontario Engineering Competition

The annual Ontario Engineering Competition offers engineering students a weekend of networking, learning opportunities and eight competitions.

To win the Innovative Design competition, the SMRT Coat team had to impress a panel of judges with their project’s technical, social, environmental and economic impact. They were judged on the originality and creativity of their idea, the quality of their presentation and the tenability of their design process.

The SMRT Coat team will proceed to the Canadian Engineering Competition in March, when they will compete against the winning teams from the Atlantic, Quebec and Western regional competitions.

Luke Wiersma, Han Liu and Daniel Stranart celebrate their team’s first place win in the Innovative Design competition at the 2020 Ontario Engineering Competition.Luke Wiersma, Han Liu and Daniel Stranart celebrate their team’s first place win in the Innovative Design competition at the 2020 Ontario Engineering Competition.

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