STANFORD, Calif. (KGO) --When it comes to preventing concussions, Professor David Camarillo's lab at Stanford is determined to make an impact.
Bioengineers are refining technologies to detect and measure the violent force responsible for concussions.
Their system employs a set of sensors imbedded in the mouthguard worn by football players.
"You can see the little infrared sensor," Camarillo said, "It reflects infrared light off the teeth."
He said software loaded with sophisticated algorithms helps estimate the force at the point of impact as transmitted through the mouthguard.
"The teeth are a unique landmark in the human body, one of the very few places where the skull can be directly connected to. So a mouthguard allows for us to get measurements of skull acceleration, which we use to infer what's happening inside the brain," Camarillo explained.
After a player is medically confirmed with a concussion, Camarillo's team can match data collected from the impact with the resulting injury.
"We've been successful in measuring a couple of concussions on the Stanford football team, so we have mouthguard data from that. And we're trying to see how the motion their brain experienced is different than those who were able to tolerate similar levels of acceleration," Camarillo said.
The Stanford engineering team believes that comparing impact data to the actual concussions suffered by players could ultimately provide vital tools to help prevent injuries in the future.
Perhaps there could be potential rule changes on the field or a more advanced helmet design.
Written and produced by Tim Didion