Self-powered monitoring of repeated head impacts using time-dilation energy measurement circuit

Tao Feng, Kenji Aono, Tracey Covassin, Shantanu Chakrabartty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Due to the current epidemic levels of sport-related concussions (SRC) in the U.S., there is a pressing need for technologies that can facilitate long-term and continuous monitoring of head impacts. Existing helmet-sensor technology is inconsistent, inaccurate, and is not economically or logistically practical for large-scale human studies. In this paper, we present the design of a miniature, battery-less, self-powered sensor that can be embedded inside sport helmets and can continuously monitor and store different spatial and temporal statistics of the helmet impacts. At the core of the proposed sensor is a novel time-dilation circuit that allows measurement of a wide-range of impact energies. In this paper an array of linear piezo-floating-gate (PFG) injectors has been used for self-powered sensing and storage of linear and rotational head-impact statistics. The stored statistics are then retrieved using a plug-and-play reader and has been used for offline data analysis. We report simulation and measurement results validating the functionality of the time-dilation circuit for different levels of impact energies. Also, using prototypes of linear PFG integrated circuits fabricated in a 0.5 μm CMOS process, we demonstrate the functionality of the proposed helmet-sensors using controlled drop tests.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7073668
Pages (from-to)217-226
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Transactions on Biomedical Circuits and Systems
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015


  • Biomechanics
  • concussion monitoring
  • energy harvesting
  • helmet sensors
  • piezo-floating-gate (PFG) sensors
  • self-powered sensors


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