Sportswear and safety equipment company POC has developed a new helmet product with built-in Near Field Communication (NFC) capabilities to share medical information about helmet wearers with emergency responders. The system includes an NFC tag built into the helmet and an application that the user can create a medical file to write to the tag. In the coming months, POC will launch two bicycle helmets and a ski helmet.
Known as the NFC medical identity chip solution, this solution is designed to allow a person's helmet to be represented when the user is unable to speak. POC hopes that the system will help patients or injured people quickly get the medical assistance they need by providing relevant information, such as the patient's blood type and the diseases they may have. The integrated 13.56 MHz NFC chip (ISO 14443 compliant) and the application for managing data collection are provided by the Swedish technology company My ICE Info AB (twICEme).
POC was established in Stockholm, Sweden in 2005 to provide safety helmets for alpine skiers as well as mountain and road bikes. The company specializes in improving safety technology for helmet riders and skiers. Occar Huss, head of POC products, said: "Since the company was founded, POC has been committed to protecting people's lives and reducing accidents that cause harm to athletes."
Huss explained that the goal of POC is to make safety helmets by using the latest materials and techniques, even if it means doing things that have never been done before. Therefore, POC North American Marketing Manager Brendan Murphey explained that it includes Recco reflectors and multidirectional impact protection systems (MIPS) and incorporates aramid fibers into their products. Brendan Murphey, POC North American Marketing Manager, pointed out that the latest driver is the use of NFC, which may be the first in the bicycle and ski helmet industry. Huss said: "NFC tags provide critical data to emergency personnel after an accident, essentially speaking to you when you can't talk."
Each helmet will have an NFC tag built into the material layer on the back of the helmet and a logo on top of it to indicate that the NFC tag can be found here. When an individual purchases a new helmet, the purchaser can download the POC application from twICEme to an iOS11-based or Android-based device.
The tag reading prompts the phone to open the app, and the user continues to enter information, including name and blood type, as well as physical condition or allergies. This information will be written directly to the tag and not stored anywhere else. If the user wishes to change the registered information, he can change the relevant data again by using the mobile phone to read the label to open the application.
Those who suffer from accidents or sudden illnesses may not be able to speak for themselves. In this case, the companion rider or rescuer can access the victim's data directly through the NFC tag without having to open the app. Rescuers simply look at the data in seconds by simply placing the phone near the helmet label (usually within 20 mm [0.08 in.]). Huss said the system does not require an Internet or cellular connection because the data is read directly from the tag. He added that this information can save a life.
POC and My ICE have been working with the International Mountain Rescue Committee (ICAR), which represents alpine rescuers, for product development. The association introduces its members to the system and how it works so that they can look for NFC logos on helmets and use the technology to access health data.
At the same time, Murphey reported that the innovation department of POC (known as POC Aid) is researching and developing methods to integrate technology into helmets. He said that this may mean other innovations in the future. POC helmets, including new products, are sold worldwide.