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Sports and Spoons

  • April 23, 2013

Head Safety

CheckLight
Companies: Reebok and MC10
Price: $150
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 Hand

LiftWare spoon
Company: Lift Labs
Price: $299
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.

Hardcourt Data

94Fifty Basketball
Company: InfoMotion Sports Technologies
Price: $295
Availability: Autumn

Sensors and a microprocessor inside a basketball record thousands of data points about how a player is shooting, dribbling, and moving with the ball and then relays the data to an app on Apple or Android devices. The app points out correctable problems, such as shots that don’t arc very high on their way to the basket. That could indicate that the shooters are relying too much on their shoulder muscles and not enough on their wrists. The ball is regulation size and weight, even with the embedded electronics and their battery—which can be recharged by putting the ball on a wireless pad.

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