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Method for Assessing Helmet Fit Might Protect Against Concussions

A cost-effective, high-resolution technique called photogrammetry creates 3-D models of heads and helmets to analyze their alignment.

By
Janelle Weaver, Contributor
Thursday, May 10, 2018

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Impact safety tests for commercially available ice hockey helmets are typically performed with a surrogate headform. But human head shapes are not uniform, and very few standards exist for fitting a helmet for the common user. If helmet fit could be quantified and improved, it may help reduce the risk of concussion for players.

To address this problem, researchers recently developed a cost-effective, high-resolution method to assess the fit of ice hockey helmets. In a study published April 17 in the Journal of Sports Engineering and Technology, researchers from Montreal's McGill University used a technique called photogrammetry to create 3-D models of heads and helmets and to analyze their alignment. This technique is performed by taking a series of photographs around an object and using computer-aided software to generate the 3-D surface of the object.

Using a high-resolution camera, the researchers took photos of participants’ heads and five helmet models from various manufacturers, and recorded videos of the participants rotating on a chair while wearing each of the helmets. A total of 150 photographs were taken for each head and helmet, and these photos were used to generate high-resolution 3-D models. These models were then aligned using lower-resolution intermediate 3-D models of participants wearing the helmets. The researchers measured the amount of gap or compression between the head and the helmet, and also administered a fit questionnaire for each helmet.

According to the authors, using photogrammetry to quantify helmet fit could optimize the comfort of ice hockey players while protecting them from traumatic brain injuries.

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