May 29, 2017 | By Tess

Riddell, a football equipment manufacturer based in Rosemont, Illinois, is developing a line of customized football helmets with the help of 3D scanning. The personalized headgear, part of Riddell’s upcoming Precision Fit line, will reportedly help to prevent football injuries related to poorly fitting helmets and will help players be more comfortable while on the field.

While it is hard not to be excited by the spectacle that surrounds most levels of football, it is important to remember that the sport is actually a very violent one. Especially now, with how the game has evolved, football players seem to be increasingly susceptible to serious injuries from the sport, most notably concussions.

As the company responsible for manufacturing about 60% of the NFL’s helmets, Riddell certainly understands the increasing importance of player safety, and is hoping to offer better protection with its Precision Fit line of headgear. Still in their prototyping stage, the helmets promise a personalized fit for players and, in turn, better protection.

To make the bespoke helmets, the Riddell team simply captures a detailed 3D scan of a player’s head, both in and out of a helmet. Using its proprietary software, the company can then use the 3D scan to model a customized lining for the helmet. The lining consists of eight custom pads which are machined from an energy-saving polyurethane composite material. The material reportedly possesses different densities which are capable of fulfilling different functions.

The scanning process, which takes only five minutes, offers an alternative to the more traditional method of using inflatable pads and air pumps to “customize” helmets. The machined lining pads reportedly feel more secure than the air pads.

Mashable's Brett Williams is 3D scanned for a Precision Fit helmet

(Image: Mashable)

While no cost has been disclosed for the line of bespoke helmets, Riddell has said that they are designed and built to last an entire career (with maintenance, of course). The customized helmets have now been in development for four years and recently completed a successful beta testing. Riddell says that its innovative line of equipment will be available in time for the 2017 NFL season, which kicks off in September.

Of course, while football equipment may be improving on all fronts (stronger, lighter, tailor-fit), players will never not be susceptible to injuries. Recently, the NFL and other football associations have come under fire for the number of serious concussions that players have suffered, with experts likening the injuries to those suffered during car crashes.

Obviously, better-fitting helmets are a step in the right direction, but they are not to be taken as a fix-all solution: more must be done. Nobody wants to see a less competitive game of sport, but the relevant authorities must take action to stop serious injuries occurring and ruining the lives of young athletes. If 3D scanning can help in that field, then game on.



Posted in 3D Scanning



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