A Boost for a Lightweight, Low-Cost Design
Vyatek Sports—an Arizona-based materials science company—is also working on energy-absorbing modules that fit on the outside of a helmet.
The company received a grant of $190,000 to support development and testing of its ZORBZ™ technology, designed to perform more like a bicycle helmet upon impact.
“The modules are lightweight, highly efficient energy-absorbers, that are low-cost and replaceable,” said Howard Lindsay, President and CEO of Vyatek.
Howard Lindsay, President and CEO of Vyatek
The module technology is also designed to be replaced quickly after absorbing a significant impact. “The ideal scenario for our design,” said Lindsay, “is to also incorporate a highly visual indicator, like a change in color, that appears after a hard hit.”
Vyatek has been working on ideas for ZORBZ over the last five years. “Small companies have a tough time moving an idea forward,” he said, but the TECH Challenge has made that process more promising.
“Winning this TECH Challenge means we’ll now have the funding to move our modules to the next-generation model,” he said.
“It’s also my vision to develop position-specific or even participation-specific modules,” he said. That vision aligns with biomechanical research and testing underway—as part of the Engineering Roadmap—to help develop position-specific helmets and equipment tailored for the different types of impacts common to linemen versus wide receivers, for example.
“Now we’ll be able to measure the effectiveness of ZORBZ within the new emerging biomechanical test criteria, and determine how much protection they can afford players of all levels,” he said.
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