Companies: Reebok and MC10
Availability: June 2013
Rising fears about concussions in sports led to this product: a skullcap laden with sensors that can detect when an athlete has sustained a blow to the head and should come to the sidelines for an assessment. Such hits aren’t always seen by coaches and trainers. A yellow light comes on after a moderate hit; a red light indicates that the hit was severe. Football helmets with sensors already exist, but they cost more and aren’t widely used in youth programs. This product, which can be worn under a helmet or without one, could also be useful in hockey, soccer, and other sports where players fall or get knocked in the head.
Steadying the HandLiftWare spoon
Company: Lift Labs
Availability: Late summer
People with tremors caused by strokes, Parkinson’s disease, or other problems could find eating much easier with a spoon that corrects for their shaking hands. Engineers at Lift Labs, a San Francisco–based company focused on health-care devices, put motion sensors in the handle of the spoon to detect the unintentional repetitive movements that characterize tremors. To counteract the tremors, motors in the handle move the bowl of the spoon in the opposite direction. The spoon doesn’t completely eliminate the shaking, but it is steadied just enough to more consistently hold food. The company plans to create other utensil attachments that can plug into this spoon’s rechargeable base.