Combat helmet design and TBI

September 1, 2009

From the New England Journal of Medicine: (edited for brevity).

Among surviving soldiers wounded in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, TBI appears to account for a larger proportion of casualties than it has in other recent U.S. wars. […]22 percent of the wounded soldiers from these conflicts […] had injuries to the head, face, or neck. This percentage can serve as a rough estimate of the fraction who have TBI [T]he true proportion is probably higher, since some cases of closed brain injury are not diagnosed promptly.

In the Vietnam War, by contrast, 12 to 14 percent of all combat casualties had a brain injury, and an additional 2 to 4 percent had a brain injury plus a lethal wound to the chest or abdomen. [B]ecause mortality from brain injuries among U.S. combatants in Vietnam was 75 percent or greater, soldiers with brain injuries made up only a small fraction of the casualties treated in hospitals.

Kevlar body armor and helmets are one reason for the high proportion of TBIs among soldiers wounded in the current conflicts. By effectively shielding the wearer from bullets and shrapnel, the protective gear has improved overall survival rates, and Kevlar helmets have reduced the frequency of penetrating head injuries. However, the helmets cannot completely protect the face, head, and neck, nor do they prevent the kind of closed brain injuries often produced by blasts. As insurgents continue to attack U.S. troops in Iraq, most brain injuries are being caused by IEDs, and closed brain injuries outnumber penetrating ones among patients seen at Walter Reed[…] All admitted patients who have been exposed to a blast are routinely evaluated for brain injury; 59 percent of them have been given a diagnosis of TBI[…]. Of these injuries, 56 percent are considered moderate or severe, and 44 percent are mild.

So the design and engineering of armor has changed the nature of the injuries that happen on the battlefield.

the MKU Instavest prototype

the MKU Instavest prototype

Design. Engineering. Acquired disabilities. That sounds like this blog.

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Snow Leopard

August 28, 2009

Snow Leopard, the development nickname for Macintosh OSX version 10.6, is available for sale today.
It has new accessibility features.

PCWorld article on these.

I’m particularly interested in the mirroring the screen with the trackpad feature. The trackpads on the new unibody laptops are huge. And I recall that Apple has patents on some haptic feedback touchscreen ideas. Could a built-in braille reader in the Macbook be possible?

Must remember to do a blog post about Windows 7 when it comes out.

Can we teach computers to co-construct in the way that people do? MIT Media Lab think so.

Playstation 3 controller

November 11, 2008

This is the sort of thing that exemplifies why I started a blog.

Kotaku reported on a homebrew PS3 controller for a gamer who has a disability.

Here is the inventor/user’s (KitsuneNoYume) post on the Playstation forums. KitsuneNoYume uses 16 switches simultaneously. These are all wired to a circuit board culled from a Playstation controller.

The device was designed by KitsuneNoYume himself and assembled by Mark Felling of GimpGear.

This rig runs a Playstation 3

This rig runs a Playstation 3

The whole rig in use

The whole rig in use

Adapted controllers for video games. That’s new, right?

Not really, check out this 1989 ad for a controller for the Nintendo Entertainment System.

NES Hands Free Controller

NES Hands Free Controller

Chin joystick with sip and puff for A, B, Select, and Start. I’ve seen one of these in real life used by probably the most hardcore Tetris player I’ve ever met.

Funny that Nintendo hasn’t used their new-found interest in unconventional controllers to make the Wii more accessible.