P15550: Customized Personal Protection Headwear

Problem Definition

Table of Contents

Problem Definition

Currently head protective equipment for concussions in athletics is limited to helmets and wearable headbands for non-helmeted sports. Protective headwear has been critical in the prevention of concussions during sporting events and other accidents as well. However, concussions are still prominent with nearly 400,000 happening yearly in high school sports alone and these products still need to be vastly improved. Emerging Technology in 3-D printing has presented us with the ability to print Thermoplastic Urethane (TPU) in localized cell structures in order to reduce the risk of concussions. These custom fitted TPU inserts will allow for a reduction in force and impact exerted onto the head during hard collisions to reduce the probability of a concussion.

The goal of this project is to combine automated custom scans of an individual's head geometry and import that specific shape into a CAD program to be 3D printed. The foam insert is to be tested in different cell geometries in order to create a suitable force reduction upon collision for the wearer. A simple vertical drop test rig will be built to include quantifiable parameters measuring the localized forces upon impact. The technology will be tested to current protective athletic equipment standards. The final solution will be cost effective, exceed all of the standards needed for this type of protective equipment, and will be biocompatible with the user. The purpose of these objectives is to design create optimized absorbent foam to use for protective equipment around the world that can be customizable for endless applications.

Project Objectives & Deliverables

Use Scenarios

Use Scenario diagrams can be found here: Use Scenarios

Customer Requirements (Needs)

Basic Initial Customer Needs:

1. Semi-automated workflow for capturing the athlete's head geometry and then use that geometry to drive design of the customized protective equipment with 3D Solidworks software. The process must be fast, easy, inexpensive and practical to implement.

2. Design for optimized foam materials whose energy absorbing properties have been shown to exceed those of standard padding materials. They must be manufacturable and also may depend on the application, so customization will be important.

3. A simple test rig will need to be fabricated to allow the demonstration and design concepts to be validated and quantified during testing and evaluation.

Customer needs spreadsheet can be found here: Customer Requirements

Customer interview questions and notes can be found here: Initial Interview

Engineering Requirements (Metrics & Specifications)

We chose engineering requirements that will allow us to be successful throughout this project and keep us on track to complete all of the customer requirements. Engineering Requirements spreadsheet can be found here: Engineering Requirements

We also put together a house of quality spread sheet to exemplify how all of our engineering requirements match up with our customer requirements, and the relationship and importance between the two. House of Quality spreadsheet can be found here: House Of Quality


1. Access to materials with the correct properties to optimize our designs.

2. Ability of the 3D printer to be able to make our designs, and 3D software compatibility constraints.

3. Producibility of designs that we create.

4. Technology must be elastic and absorb energy to certain standards and be able to handle material fatigue and temperature variabilities.

Benchmarking & Research

Benchmarking Table can be found here: Benchmarking

Research Document and Links can be found here: Testing Standards Research

Biosystems New Technology : http://www.x2biosystems.com