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Intel adds its muscle for football helmet safety (photos)

Intel is teaming with football helmet maker Riddell and researchers to produce technology that will make football a safer sport. Plus, a look at football helmets of the past.
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1 of 18 Andy Smith/ZDNet

Intel is teaming with football helmet maker Riddell and researchers from the Thayer School of Engineering (Dartmouth), Wayne State University, University of Northern Colorado and Texas State University-San Marcos to develop technology that will hopefully produce a safer football helmet. As part of the project the chipmaker is also working with the Mayo Clinic to develop a supercomputing chip design called Intel's Many Integrated Core (MIC) architecture. Intel hopes to eventually embed Atom chips in helmets to help monitor dangerous impacts.

Football's first superstar, Jim Thorpe, who played in the early 1900s poses with one of the first leather helmets. Later in the gallery, we have a look at some football helmets of the past.

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New Orleans Saints quarterback and Super Bowl MVP Drew Brees, and Kirk Skaugen, vice president and general manager of Intel's Data Center Group, at SC10 in New Orleans discuss how technology innovation is being used to create safer football equipment.

Credit: Businesswire

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The Riddell HITS sensors are place inside the helmet to record impacts while on the field.

Credit: Riddell

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The sensors are placed inside the helmet to record impacts for later study.

Credit: Riddell

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The Riddell Sideline Response System takes data from a helmet that contains HITS sensors. The information can be used during a game to alert medical staff of a dangerous collision or saved for later analysis.

The software can show the angle and force of each impact.

Credit: Riddell

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Using data obtained from Riddell HITS sensors, supercomputers based on Intel Xeon processors helped develop this image of an impact that caused a concussion.

Credit: Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth,

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This image shows normal stresses on a brain during an NFL game.

Credit: Wayne State University

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This image is from an NFL game showing a player that has received a concussion. The red area shows the most strain.

Credit: Wayne State University

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Intel demonstrates how a helmet-to-helmet collision has an impact on the brain.

Credit: Intel

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The 1912 Army football team with President Dwight D. Eisenhower (second from left) and Gen. Omar Bradley (second from right) wearing soft leather helmets of the times.

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This 1935 football card shows Irving "Cotton" Wharburton in action. Oh yeah, the guy looking at the camera in the hard leather helmet is believed to be President Gerald Ford.

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During the 1930s helmets were made of hard leather. Red Grange goes back to pass.

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Elroy "Crazy Legs" Hirsch sports one of the first helmets with a design painted on it.

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Popular Science carried this 1946 article  about one of the latest developments in football safety - plastic helmets.

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Otto Graham of the Cleveland Browns was said to be the first in pro football to wear a facemask. Coach Paul Brown (lower right) had the facemask developed after Graham's (lower right) face was ripped open during a game in 1953. Brown was happy, it wasn't Graham's ankle that was injured.

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Riddell's Rivo Edge for youth features built-in concussion reduction technology.

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The Riddell IQ HITS helmet features technology that monitors and records significant impacts. The information is downloadable so that a player could view the information on a home PC. It retails for $1,030.

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Riddell's Revolution Speed helmet features built-in concussion reduction technology along with a new shell design and an overliner. The face mask features a quick release that cuts removal time in half. It retails for $244.

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