Advancing Instrumented Protective Equipment With Smart Wearable Technology

Simbex: A Development Partner with Over Two Decades of Instrumented Protective Gear Experience

Developing Cutting-Edge Protection With Smart-Sensing

In the dynamic landscape of high-performance sports and military operations, the integration of advanced technology has become increasingly vital for enhancing safety and performance. Simbex, with our two-decade long legacy of expertise in instrumented protective gear, has been at the forefront of innovation, catering to the unique needs of sports and combat environments where impact sensing is paramount.

Simbex’s journey began with our pioneering work in developing technologies to assess and mitigate the risks associated with traumatic brain injuries (TBI). Given the often-delayed onset of TBI symptoms, we recognized the critical need for immediate and accurate assessment tools that address head impacts in sports as well as combat and blast-intensive training scenarios. Simbex embarked on a mission to craft protective gear that not only offered smart, objective analysis but also prioritized wearer comfort and mobility without compromising performance.

The Challenge: Unveiling Invisible Impacts Without Compromising Performance

Building a helmet capable of accurately measuring impacts without compromising protective performance was a significant challenge. Simbex’s expertise in mechanical, electrical, and software engineering, coupled with rigorous testing and calibration, ensured the seamless integration of advanced sensor technology into protective headgear. By leveraging our skills in data analytics, the resulting system provides immediate, actionable information to coaches and medical staff, facilitating informed decision-making and injury prevention strategies. The data also allow coaches to gain insight into player execution in both practice and game scenarios, crucial for strategizing and improving overall team performance. Above all, the simplicity and usability of the system are critical; we ensured that the helmet system is easy to set up and use, without sacrificing any of its advanced capabilities. This focus on user-friendly design means that teams can quickly integrate the technology into their training and game-day scenarios.

Simbex is an ideal partner for any protective gear instrumentation product because of our 20+ year history in biomechanics, deep expertise in algorithms and wearable sensors, and human factors sensibility.

Crossover Capabilities to Serve in Combat Scenarios

Building on our achievements in sports safety, Simbex moved into military applications, leveraging our expertise in sensor technology and data analytics through successive DoD grants. The military’s need was specific: they required technology capable of measuring both overpressure and blunt impact forces to better understand and protect against the polytrauma experienced in blast exposures. Simbex developed a unique approach to address this need using a thin film sensing material as a multimodal sensor, a crucial advancement in understanding human survivability in complex conditions. The resulting high resolution universal blast exposure recorder (UBER) tape is designed for use on complex and conformable surfaces, making it versatile for various military applications. It leveraged Simbex’s existing work in blast dosimetry and impact monitoring, extending our technical expertise from sports safety to military protective solutions.

Developing Sensing-Enabled Wearables as An Extension of the Body

Simbex’s commitment to innovation extends beyond protective gear to prosthetic solutions aimed at improving the lives of individuals with lower limb loss. Partnering with OPOS1, we developed sensor systems designed to enhance prosthetic performance and user experience. (link here to full case study on Simbex site) Through a combination of advanced technology and user-centric design, we created solutions that empower users to monitor their progress and take control of their rehabilitation journey.

As lead prosthetist at Walter Reed Medical Center during the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, OPOS1 founder Dennis Clark identified and set upon solving an unmet need; how could a medical team help a patient overcome difficulties with their prosthetic leg without knowing the patient’s pattern of behavior? After all, even the very best O&P devices are only capable of creating positive outcomes in a patient’s life if that person wears them. He wanted to add a sensor to a prosthetic device to capture real-world data on how and when the device is used.

Dennis took his idea from concept to reality with the help of the Simbex’s highly specialized product teams who worked closely together, leveraging our deep experience with wearable biometric sensors and gait biomechanics to develop a unique sensor design with an algorithm precisely tuned for the device and with optimized battery life. If patients choose, they can see their own data via the mobile app Simbex developed and take ownership of their outcomes. Patients report feeling empowered by this opportunity, and it has led to behavioral change. As product demand grew, the Simbex team evaluated several contract manufacturers to determine the best fit for production. Simbex then managed the relationship with the chosen contract manufacturer, and currently maintains the cloud database.

Safeguarding Lives and Empowering Individuals

Simbex’s journey in developing smart solutions for civilian and military applications epitomizes our commitment to technical excellence and innovation. By leveraging our expertise in sensor technology, data analytics, and collaborative partnerships, Simbex continues to push the boundaries of wearable technology, enhancing safety, performance, and quality of life across diverse domains.

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