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i1biometrics1Football players at Louisiana State University will be equipped with some high-tech mouthguards thanks to a Seattle-area startup.

Kirkland-based i1 Biometrics today announced that it is partnering with LSU for a beta program that will outfit several players with its Vector mouthguards, which can measure the linear and rotational accelerations of head impacts during practice and games.

A tiny chip inside the mouthguard — along with an accelerometer, gyroscope, battery, and antennas — helps show the severity and location of impact to a player’s head, with all the data sent in real-time to a handheld device used by trainers on the sidelines. The goal is to help LSU and other teams better assess the severity of potential concussions that players can endure on the field after big hits.

The Tigers will outfit a small group of its players with the mouthguards during practice and games this season. LSU is the first collegiate team to test the i1 Biometrics device.

“A significant struggle faced by coaches and trainers today is centered around knowing the severity and location of head impact on the field of play,” i1 Biometrics CEO Jesse Harper said in a statement. “The Vector MouthGuard with ESP Chip Technology is engineered to reduce the guesswork so that coaches and trainers have accurate and timely data to help make proper decisions for their student athletes.”

i1 Biometrics CEO Jesse Harper.
i1 Biometrics CEO Jesse Harper.

Both the NCAA and NFL are making a more concerted effort to better understand head impact and concussions that stem from on-field activities, particularly those that go un-diagnosed. New technology is playing a key role with this movement, as i1 Biometrics and other startups — including Seattle-based X2 Biosystems — are developing gadgets and tools to assess impact.

i1 Biometrics was founded in 2012 and was acquired this past June by Seattle-based Start It Labs, an investment company led by Seattle super angel Gary Rubens.

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