Intel has been working with several industry experts to improve the safety of football helmets, including an idea to put its tiny Atom microprocessors inside football helmets to measure and feed real-time impact data to medical personnel on the sidelines of a game.
The world’s largest chip maker has already worked with football helmet maker Riddell and researchers from several universities, including the University of Northern Colorado, on computer simulations aimed at improving helmet designs and reducing player injuries.
The simulations are done on groups of linked computers with Intel Xeon processors inside, Intel said, and are based on computer models designed by partner universities as well as actual data from on-field impact tests with the Riddell Head Impact Telemetry System (HITS), a technology inside helmets that records impact data. The simulations can help experts develop more reliable brain injury criteria and may in the future help doctors diagnose actual brain injuries.
Intel is also working with the Mayo Clinic to speed up medical scans using Intel’s MIC (Many Integrated Core) supercomputer co-processors. The chips can run up to trillions of calculations per second, including in scientific research, exploration and climate modeling, Intel said.
Intel said cranial scans running on MIC co-processors were accelerated by up to 18 times.
The first Intel MIC processors, codenamed Knights Corner, will be made using the company’s 22-nanometer production technology.
The company said that in the future, Atom processors could be embedded in helmets and wirelessly transmit data to servers that measure head impact and injury risk in real-time so that medical personnel can respond faster to injuries. The company did not name a time frame for such a project.