3D Scanning: Making Football Safer

Throughout it’s history, football has always had a darker element apart from the excitement of the game. The physical toll of knocking heads that is inflicted on players game-to-game has impacted players many years after their careers have ended. CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) has been studied and linked to the sport. Definitive studies and testimonies from previous players and experts in the field have spurred a need for new equipment to keep players safe in this violent sport.

One of the largest manufactures of NFL football helmets, Riddell has taken steps to make player safety a cornerstone in their next line of Precision Fit football helmets. In order to do so, they turned to 3D laser scanning technologies. By making helmets specifically designed for a players head, they can then build the helmet around that making even energy dispersion for impacts and making a safer helmet and also a more comfortable one for each player. Although many injuries occur in the sport, this is a way to ensure the mental and physical wellbeing of players as they line up and, quite literally, go head-to-head.

 Precision Fit 3D Scanning Process

First, a 306 degree scan is taken with the player wearing a demo Riddell helmet. Once that scan is complete, another scan is done with the player wearing a lining cap to capture the true measurements of the players head. Once the scanning is done, the data is sent to their CAD design software in order to recreate the exact surfaces for helmet production. An eight-pad lining is then custom machined from composite polyurethane (thick, protective memory foam) to ensure the best energy dispersion possible. The whole process, scan to helmet delivery, take about 6 weeks and would be more expensive than a typical Riddell helmet; a small price to pay for the the most protective football helmet offered to NFL players.

This is a great example of how 3D scanning technologies are helping to solve problems. With companies, like Riddell, taking initiative and using the latest technologies out there, there is no limit to the other problems we can solve. To learn more about Riddell’s Precision Fit helmet project, click here. For more information about our 3D scanning solutions for your next project, click here.