School of Mechatronic Systems Engineering
Dr. Daniel Abram is an Adjunct Professor at the School of Mechatronic Systems Engineering, SFU. He is a professional engineer (PEng) with expertise in impact mechanics, design, testing, optimization, and product development. Daniel is also an award-winning researcher with over 30 publications including book chapters, patents, journals, and conferences. Daniel received his PhD in mechanical design and optimization from the University of New Brunswick in 2008. Since 2010, Daniel has been the Principal Investigator of the Head Injury Prevention Lab and is currently the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of the spin-off company, Shield-X Technology. Daniel first teamed up with researchers at SFU on a project following helmet design. Establishing the HIP lab, Daniel researched and developed the patented micro-engineered membrane to enhance helmet protection, the foundation for Shield-X’s technology. Complementing the membrane, Daniel created a new impact test rig; offering superior performance in helmet development and testing of the company’s technology.
Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) and concussions are a major health problem; costing Canadian taxpayers over $12.7 billion per year.1 Every day, 452 Canadians suffer brain injuries where 50% is attributed to falls and motor vehicle accidents and 30% occur to children and youths generally during sports and recreational activities . This has made brain injuries the leading cause of death and disability for Canadians under 40. In addition, these injuries are associated to homelessness with approximately 37% of the homeless in Toronto having suffered brain injuries prior to losing their homes  .
Throughout history, helmets were the main defense against brain injuries, designed with only compressive forces in mind. However, new evidence in the last 50 years revealed another culprit behind brain injuries: rotational forces . While not fully understood, rotational forces are known to cause the sharp twisting of the brain. Unable to sustain this rotary motion, the brain suffers serious injuries such as diffuse axonal injury and subdural hematoma which results in disabilities or even death . As such, there is a need for new helmets to include protection against rotational forces.
Through years of research and testing, the HIP lab has produced a patented micro-engineered membrane to tackle this deficiency in helmet design. The membrane is a thin and malleable technology designed to decouple the applied force on the helmet from the head, thereby reducing the sharp twisting of the brain. The membrane can be integrated as a modular system, requiring no new helmets to be purchased or embedded into new helmet designs. In addition, the membrane is compatible with many types of helmets including football, hockey, cycling, skiing, military and construction. Currently, the membrane has been applied as a helmet decal, helmet fit pads, a skullcap, and a helmet weather cover to cater to specific applications.
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