The NFL today announced the launch of HealthTECH Challenge I, a crowd-sourced challenge to accelerate innovations and make playing surfaces more consistent and safer for players.
Held in partnership with Football Research, Inc. (FRI) and Duke Biomedical Engineering (Duke BME), the Challenge invites submissions that address several possible elements of natural and synthetic playing surface safety. These include:
HealthTECH Challenge I will provide up to $100,000 to entrants with ideas that improve the safety and consistency of playing surfaces. The individuals or groups who submit projects that are selected for funding will have the opportunity to work with an expert support team to further develop their concept and plan for creating a finished product.
In addition to companies that currently specialize in playing surfaces, the Challenge is open to submissions from companies and new ventures from outside the surface industry, including representatives of academic institutions, design houses and other entities that specialize in engineering, advanced manufacturing and material science.
The timeline for Challenge is outlined below:
The full request for applications is available for review here.
“Our goal for this challenge is to generate fresh and creative ideas to complement our ongoing efforts to create the best possible playing surfaces for NFL players that is consistent and safe,” said Jennifer Langton, senior vice president of health and safety innovation at the NFL. “Crowd-sourced challenges like this one are a unique opportunity to tap into a wide range of expertise and make the game safer for players on the field."
HealthTECH Challenge I is part of the HealthTECH Challenges (previously known as the HeadHealthTECH Challenges), a series of innovation challenges intended to deepen understanding of and advance solutions in the areas of head protection, lower extremity protection, materials science and kinematic measurement, among others.