The National Football League, Under Armour, GE, and the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology announced Dec. 15 the five winners of Head Health Challenge III, an open innovation competition to support the discovery, design and development of advanced materials that better absorb or dissipate impact. Charles Owen Inc. was announced as one winner.
“I am so excited that the NFL has recognized our expertise and place in helping to reduce brain injury,” said Roy Burek, managing director of Charles Owen. “It is through these special collaborations that we can develop the next generation of head protection. With concussion being such a world focus, I am proud that we can be a part of that story by developing solutions.”
Each of the winners will receive $250,000 to advance their work in developing state-of-the-art materials. A panel of leading experts in the field of materials science selected these five winners from 125 entries because they met the challenge’s technical criteria to maximize energy absorption and minimize momentum transfer.
“The winning materials show a great deal of ingenuity in their approaches to energy absorption and have the potential to improve the next generation of protective systems,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and NIST Director Willie E. May. “Our NIST experts are looking forward to working with the winning research teams as they further develop their innovative materials.”
Charles Owen made cellular structures that use a stacked, origami-like design to optimize energy absorption. The essential building block of the winning material is a double corrugated sheet of the material, whose ability to fold efficiently was originally developed for applications in areas such as solar array packing in the space industry.
One overall Head Health Challenge III winner will be selected from the five awardees to receive a $500,000 grand prize. Read more about all the challenge winners.