Intel Atom CPU Could Make the NFL Safer for Players

Dennis Faas's picture

Intel is working on new technology designed to increase the response time in diagnosing and treating NFL-related injuries. By embedding a small Intel Atom microprocessor inside a football helmet, impact measurement data can help quickly determine the severity of an injury for medical personnel on the sidelines.

Intel, renowned for being the largest computer chip maker in the world, has worked with football helmet maker Riddell on computer simulations to improve future designs and reduce the number of injuries in the contact sport. Joining the tandem are a number of select universities, including researchers from the University of Northern Colorado. (Source:

Monitoring Injuries With HITS

The impact-recording technology is called the Riddell Head Impact Telemetry System (HITS) and on-field simulations are done using groups of interconnected computers that run the Intel Xeon processors. The ultimate goal of these simulations is to develop more reliable brain injury criteria and help doctors diagnose legitimate brain injuries in the future.

Use of Many Integrated Core (MIC) Supercomputer Processors

Intel is also working alongside the Mayo Clinic to speed up the rate of medical scans using Intel's MIC (Many Integrated Core) supercomputer co-processors. These chips have the ability to perform trillions of calculations per second, including exploration and climate modeling.

Intel believes that the difference with MIC co-processors is an acceleration speed 18 times faster than previously recorded. Current plans call for the first MIC processors (codenamed Knights Corner) to be made using Intel's 22-nonometer production technology. (Source:

Foreseeable Benefits for Athletes, Health Professionals

While no timeframe has been given for embedding the Atom microprocessor in football helmets, many already foresee its benefits.

The technology would give medical personnel a good read on the extent of an injury, while allowing coaches to judge whether a player is capable of continuing their on-field participation. Instant misdiagnosis is often the leading cause of further injury sustained by an athlete and, often times, lifelong ailments become the price one pays for such risks.

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