MC10, Reebok launch brain-impact sensor

MC10 partnered with Reebok to create a wearable impact sensor.--Courtesy of Reebok

Massachusetts' MC10 is toasting the result of its collaboration with Reebok ($RBK), lending its stretchable sensors to a just-launched device designed to detect the severity of head trauma in contact sports.

The wearable Checklight employs MC10's BioStamp technology, using a stretchable, sensor-laden surface to determine the velocity and impact of hits to the head. The skullcap-like device is outfitted with red, yellow and green lights, indicating the severity of blows to coaches, trainers and athletes, and, ideally, cutting back the risk of serious injury by eliminating much of the dangerous guesswork employed in on-the-field decisionmaking.

The device could go a long way toward preventing concussions, MC10 has said, the subject of swirling concern and controversy in the NFL, although Checklight is not designed to function as a diagnostic. The company hasn't disclosed the terms of its deal with Reebok, but the sportswear giant is putting its full marketing heft behind the device, which retails at about $150.

For MC10, the high-profile Reebok deal is just one of the promising applications of its versatile technology. The company also has partnered with Medtronic ($MDT), which led an $18 million funding round in April, to apply BioStamp's core tech to a balloon catheter. By integrating flexible sensing technology with the inflatable device, physicians will be able to collect data on heart function and diagnose vascular problems while propping open vessels, the company said.

MC10 has raised more than $40 million since launching in 2008, and the company has a plan to start generating some homegrown revenue in the near future. MC10 aims to launch the smaller-than-a-Band-Aid BioStamp vitals monitor in the next 5 years, figuring to sell the smartphone-compatible devices for about $10 apiece.

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