NJ 8th-graders’ concussion-detection device earns them national recognition

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Four eighth-graders from Bergen County have gained national recognition for designing a device that fits into a football helmet that can detect concussions.

Cavallini Middle School students Jake Carlin, Josh Chostaka, Alex Fisherman and Ian Langan say that they were inspired to create the device when a friend was hurt playing football.

“One of our good friends got a really bad concussion during a game, so we felt that making something like this would help coaches and trainers keep their teams safe,” Langan says.

The 14-year-olds developed a sensor that fits into a football helmet. Real-time data is transmitted directly to a smartphone, using an app that they also designed.

"We use an accelerometer which detects how fast someone is moving, like how fast [a player’s] head is moving.  It detects whiplash, which is then calculated into G-forces. That's how they test for concussions,” says Chostaka.

The boys are all athletes and say that they know how serious a concussion can be.

“I think this will really help kids around country or even around the world, who are at risk or have a huge liability for getting brain injuries during sports,” Carlin says.

They entered their project into the national Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Competition, where the team earned a place as a Top 10 finalist. They have so far earned $50,000 for their Upper Saddle River school in Samsung technology. There is also a chance to win $150,000 more if they take top prize in New York City next month.

There is also an online contest for the competition. The winner of that contest can win $20,000 in technology for their school. You can vote for the Cavallini Middle School at the Samsung website.

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