Imagine if all you had to do was carry around a penny to know if something has negatively affected your brain. The Office of Naval Research (ONR) is sponsoring the development of such a product, called BLAST (Blast Load Assessment Sense and Test). Specifically, the ONR, in association with NASA, the University of North Carolina, and Applied Research Associates Inc., a New Mexico-based research firm, is in development of a coin-sized device that would be no burden to the soldier and can be worn on the helmet or body armor, and can identify brain injury, letting the soldier know if they should get immediate medical help. As Dr. Timothy Bentley of the ONR says, “A system like BLAST is vitally important because it can help recognize the signs of TBI early and tell warfighters they might need medical attention.”
While it may take 5 years to be fully developed and tested, the prospect of such a product has great possibilities, both in and outside of the armed forces. For example, brain injury in American football has been big news in the past several years, and a coin-sized brain injury “detector” attached to players’ helmets could aid in the quick diagnosis and treatment of such an injury in football and other sports where helmets are worn, such as hockey. Beyond that, the possibilities are endless.
For more information:
BLAST: Greater Speed, Accuracy in Recognizing Brain Injury, AMERICA’s NAVY
Naval Research seeks to tackle traumatic brain injury, MilitaryTimes