Helmet technology development to reduce traumatic brain injury

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The University of Melbourne has welcomed the Australian Government's award of a Defence Innovation HUB contract to SORD Australia.

The University of Melbourne has welcomed Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price’s award of a Defence Innovation HUB technology development contract to Veteran-owned Melbourne company SORD Australia.

SORD Australia, with support from Horizon Defence Systems Pty Ltd, will undertake investigatory work into the science of blast impact accumulation on the human brain, including its contribution to mild traumatic brain injury. Results of the research are anticipated to aid in the design of a concussion reduction in multiples (or CRCX) helmet.

The University’s Department of Biomedical Engineering will undertake a key role in the CRCX helmet project by providing necessary analytical and modelling outcomes aimed at optimising helmet designs which will materially reduce injury to the human brain from blast effects.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Jim McCluskey welcomed the Minister’s announcement.

“We are hoping that this collaboration with SORD Australia and Horizon Defence Systems will see contributions from our research team that lead to significant developments in helmet technologies to better protect defence personnel,” Professor McCluskey said.

“The University’s research contribution will be conducted out of its Computer Assisted Rehabilitation Environment (CAREN) facility, a state of the art virtual reality biomechanical facility which is the first of its kind in the southern hemisphere.”

The University of Melbourne regularly works collaboratively with industry to develop advanced defence technologies, including crossing and redefining the frontiers of human–machine interfaces, sensor technologies, advanced materials, medical countermeasures, enhanced human performance and autonomous systems.

“We have developed a suite of computational and experimental biomechanical models to predict combined helmet / head responses under extreme loading scenarios. These models will be used by the CRCX helmet project team to help optimise different helmet designs and predict brain injury risks,” Professor Peter Lee said.

Simon Truskett, the Chairman of Horizon Defence Systems – of which SORD Australia is a founding member – said: “Through active collaboration, Australian industry is able to develop world leading technology immediately relevant to the needs of the Australian Defence Force, as well as close allies and regional security partners.”