High-tech foam, developed at FSU, getting tryout in football helmets
KEYSTONE HEIGHTS, Fla. - Football's front-line battle against concussions may be in a Keystone Heights warehouse. Located outside of Gainesville, Auxadyne is using new technology developed right here in Florida to make football safer.
That new technology is base around auxetic foam.
"We've been working with this foam for four years, but to actually see it in a helmet this fall on a football field is super exciting," offered co-founder Betsy Condon.
Betsy and her husband Joe's company has exclusive rights to produce and sell auxetic foam. They licensed the technology developed at Florida State University.
It’s approved for use at every level of play, including the NFL.
"The harder the hit, the heartier our foam gets. Our foam responds favorably to impacts," Joe Condon claimed.
Conventional foam acts like a marshmallow. If you were to compress a marshmallow, the diameter would expand -- and the thinner and less supportive it becomes. But auxetic foam does the exact opposite.
"As you compress or impact, the structure moves to the point of load, providing more and more support," explained Joe.
This is the first year the foam is on the gridiron. The Condons partnered with the company Light Helmets to create a product they say is 50 to 60 percent lighter than competitors.
"If you can take weight out of the impact equation, you can reduce traumatic brain injuries. We have a product in football this year that is going to do that," Joe said.
Applications of this foam extend far beyond football. Auxadyne makes everything from orthotic shoe insoles to equestrian saddle pads. They are also working with the United States Army to improve helmet impact protection for our soldiers.