About this project
Update: Missed out on backing our campaign? It's not too late! Just go to joltsensor.com to pre-order your sensor. Orders will be queued on a first-come, first-served basis following our Kickstarter orders and manufactured in the same batch.
Jolt began as an engineering lab project at MIT following Ben's concussion at wrestling practice. The concussion was made worse because it was not immediately detected and his already injured brain was exposed to additional dangerous impacts. Many of the 30 million youth athletes in the United States face the same problem -- they lack access to adequate sideline technology and medical personnel to identify and evaluate dangerous head impacts as soon as they happen. Over the past year Jolt has developed a technology to address this problem, in the form of the Jolt Sensor.
What is the Jolt Sensor?
The Jolt Sensor is a small clip that can easily attach to any piece of head-worn athletic equipment. Whether you wear a helmet, a headband, goggles, or headgear, it’ll work. The sensor enclosure has a soft rounded silicone rubber exterior to prevent injury and is fully waterproofed to stand up to dirt, dust, sweat, and rain. It has a multi-week battery life and is rechargeable via a standard micro USB port.
When an athlete’s head accelerates in a potentially dangerous way, the sensor vibrates to alert the athlete. It also connects wirelessly to parents' and coaches' smartphones (Android & iOS), using Bluetooth Low Energy, to alert them on the sidelines. With a range of over a hundred yards, the sensor stays connected anywhere on the field.
Parents can track their children through the app and grant permissions to other parents that they trust to track their children in the event that they cannot be at a practice or game. And a coach can track their entire team at the same time, while benefitting from the more detailed analytics of the coach dashboard.
When a dangerous impact is detected, a parent or coach is immediately notified that the athlete should be evaluated on the sideline with the app’s built-in cognitive test and concussion symptom checklist. The results of this test, along with the impact data, are contextualized and presented in simple and understandable terms for parents and coaches.
A player showing any signs or symptoms of a concussion should not return to play until evaluated by a medical professional, as only a doctor can diagnose a concussion. All of the important data that has been collected by the app and sensor is stored in the cloud, for quick and easy access by you and your doctor.
The science of head impacts
Concussion fast facts from the CDC:
- A concussion is a brain injury and all are serious.
- Most concussions occur without loss of consciousness.
- Recognition and proper response to concussions when they first occur can help prevent further injury or even death.
More information about concussions from the CDC:
A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury, or TBI, caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head that can change the way your brain normally works. Concussions can also occur from a blow to the body that causes the head to move rapidly back and forth. Even a "ding", "getting your bell rung", or what seems to be a mild bump or blow to the head can be serious.
Concussions can occur in any sport or recreation activity. So, all coaches, parents, and athletes need to learn concussion signs and symptoms and what to do if a concussion occurs.
Where We're At
After a number of generations of functional prototypes, we have fully optimized the Jolt Sensor for reduced size, complexity, and power consumption. Due to the small size of our final design, we can no longer manufacture our prototypes by hand. With your help, we can use third-party manufacturers to produce production quality boards for final testing and certification.
The alpha version of the iOS mobile app is built and has been used to test the current prototypes. With a successful campaign, we will be adding functionality, improving ease of use, and creating an Android version of the app. We will consult directly with you, our backers, as we add and edit features to ensure a perfect in-app experience.
How You Can Help
One aspect of our campaign that we are particularly excited about is the "Give a Sensor" reward tier. You may not know anyone who needs a Jolt Sensor, but there are many people who do. For less than our earliest "Get a Sensor" reward tier, you can contribute a sensor directly to a kid who needs it. Whether you "Give a Sensor" or not, you can vote, via Twitter, for the teams you'd like to see get Jolt Sensors. Simply include "@joltsensor", "#giveasensor", and the team of your choice in your tweets. We will tally the votes at the conclusion of the campaign and outfit the most popular teams with free sensors for every player!
As Kickstarter backers ourselves, we understand the work and dedication that goes into running a successful campaign, and how critical it is to keep backers up-to-date along the way. Our priority is to answer your questions quickly and thoroughly, with frequent updates throughout the campaign. Day to day, our number one priority will be taking the time to address every single question, comment, or concern that you have.
Getting rewards to backers on time is also extremely important to us. We have capped our early shipping tiers in such a way that we can fulfill your rewards at the indicated dates. We understand how frustrating it can be to wait for rewards and we’ve spent a lot of time figuring out our capabilities and timeline so that we can meet our shipping dates.
Backer Update Pledge
When the timer on the campaign hits zero the campaign is far from over. We know how important it is to frequently update backers, and we pledge to provide continuous informative updates to our backers until all rewards have shipped.
The Jolt Sensor is not a concussion diagnostic tool. It provides an objective measure of the quantity and magnitude of head impact forces and is intended to direct athletes towards more timely medical assessment. Concussions can only be diagnosed by a trained medical professional.
Who We Are
Founders Ben and Seth met at MIT, when Ben hosted Seth during his Campus Preview Weekend. Ben studied Mechanical Engineering and Architecture. Following graduation, he completed the Global Management Trainee program at Anheuser-Busch InBev before focusing on Jolt full-time. Seth studied Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, completing significant coursework in Mechanical Engineering as well. He joined Jolt this spring, after graduation, and has previously interned at Xerox, NetApp, DEKA, and Formlabs.
Who We're Working With
Jolt has worked closely with MIT's Venture Mentoring Service over the past year. VMS supports innovation and entrepreneurial activity throughout the MIT community by matching both prospective and experienced entrepreneurs with skilled volunteer mentors.
Jolt is a MassChallenge 2014 Finalist. MassChallenge is the world’s largest startup accelerator and competition. The nonprofit organization selects 128 finalist startups annually to participate in its four-month accelerator program in Boston. Following the accelerator period, MassChallenge awards $1 million in grants to the program’s top companies.
Jolt is an Arch Grants 2014 Winner. Arch Grants seeks to create a more robust startup culture and infrastructure in St. Louis by offering startups funding in the form of grants that support the startups as they remain in or transition to downtown St. Louis.
Dragon Innovation has done a lightweight review of our project and has pre-qualified that we appear to be an educated team with a buildable product.
We Couldn't Have Done It Without...
In addition to thanking VMS, MassChallenge, and Arch Grants, we would like to thank Joe Harvatine, Brad Schiller, Peter Quigley, Jerry Zadow, Zach Both, Rob Chron, Alex Blickenstaff, Doug Fox, and Freddie Martignetti for their continued generous support and mentorship. We would not be where we are without you guys. We are truly grateful.
We would also like to thank Kirsten Aarsvold and Erica Jutras for putting up with us throughout what has been a busy and often stressful journey.
Risks and challenges
One of our greatest challenges will be setting up manufacturing and distribution. Knowing this, we've already enlisted a number of mentors and advisors with years of experience in industry to help guide us through the process. We've also made the decision to work exclusively with domestic supplier and manufacturers, working to source local options wherever possible.
In addition to supporting local businesses, this offers practical benefits, eliminating customs delays, overseas shipping, and language barriers. This will prove crucial as we solve problems that will no doubt arise and help us to meet our anticipated shipping dates for all sensors. We put a lot of work into trying to account for everything and set a realistic timeline that we are confident we can meet. As always, we will be transparent and communicative as possible along the way, sharing highs, lows, and everything in between.
Additional challenges will be in testing and certification. Once again, we are enlisting the mentoring and guidance of seasoned professionals in both academia and industry to help guide us along the way.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Our device is calibrated to capture and record any impact over a low threshold. Most of these impacts will never trigger an alert and just provide us with additional valuable data. Our alert logic matches the latest medical research and works for all athletes at all levels.
We are still consulting with our medical advisors to select the best possible option. There are some tests that have risen in popularity and become rather well-known, however this does not necessarily make them the "best" option. We are also evaluating methods for combining multiple tests and integrating original testing protocols as well.
Our preliminary tests show that the device captures, records, and transmits data precisely as designed. All final testing and validation will be done with production quality prototypes enabled by the successful funding of this campaign. Our current generation of prototypes are all hand-produced by Ben, leading some of them to have their own quirks resulting from hand manufacturing, rather than any design/engineering flaws.
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