BandaVida

It is vital for athletes to be able to monitor the health of their bodies, especially that of their most vital organ, the brain.  However, it is difficult to tell when the brain is injured or bruised, until now.  Banda Vida, Ed Dougherty’s newest invention, is a wearable electronic device that can monitor and track large and small head impacts.  Ed has created a Kickstarter campaign to raise edmond-john-dougherty$15,000 to create a smaller and slimmed down prototype and needs everyone’s support to reach his goal and help this product come to fruition.

Ed is no stranger to innovation and entrepreneurship; he is the not only the President of Ablaze Development Corporation but is also the Director of the Engineering Entrepreneurship program and Assistant Professor at Villanova University.  He is an electrical engineer by trade and once he graduated from Villanova, he worked on a project with NASA and NOAA to track and collect data on California gray whales. Ed currently has 13 US Patents with more pending.  He was also a member of a team that won an Emmy Award for technical achievement in the making of Skycam, an aerial robotic control camera system.

His latest project, Banda Vida is a wearable electronic device in the form of a headband that monitors and tracks head impacts to notify parents, coaches, and athletes of impacts that have the potential to cause a concussion or Traumatic Brain Injury. It records the time, date, magnitude, direction and duration of each head impact. If an impact exceeds a user preset level or an automatic level, an alarm will be generated that alerts the athlete.  A display will show the level of the impact and time when it occurred.  It is a way to ensure that active athletes are staying healthy and are aware of the impacts.  The device has a 16 GB memory card that is able to store an entire history of every impact.  The memory card can be removed from the device and downloaded onto a computer in the form of a spreadsheet to review, graph, and if desired share the information with the BandaVida and medical community.  BandaVida can be used by athletes and even toddlers, the elderly, and firemen.

Ed developed this idea nearly ten years ago while collaborating on a senior project with a group of Villanova engineers and engineers from Dayton University.  The group initially had the idea to monitor concussions using a device placed in football helmets and made progress with the idea but Ed decided that he would like to keep working with the idea.  He wanted to be able to monitor all athletes, not just football players, but those athletes who do not have protection like field hockey and soccer players.  This project is especially close to Ed because his grandsons are soccer players and he wants to ensure that they are safe and being protected from any possible brain injuries.  Flash forward eight years to a time when technology finally caught up to Ed’s vision, he has been developing this product for the past two years and has a working prototype that has been tested in the laboratory.

This device could be the next new advancement in maintaining the health of athletes.  Many people know that large impacts can cause concussions but as Ed noted, the medical community now recognizes that Traumatic Brain Injury can be caused by multiple small impacts that are additive over time.  However, the main issue is that the medical community does not have data to explore the true effect that impacts, large and small, can have on an individual.  Ed’s hope is that not only will Banda Vida help an athlete to maintain his or her brain health but that this information can be put towards helping others and protecting more athletes.

The Kickstarter campaign currently has $5,530 pledged to the project but has eight days left to raise $9,700. Ed hopes that with the money raised from this campaign he will be able to make a new prototype that will be half the size and weight of the current prototype.  He also would like to build around 50 prototypes and give them to the Villanova Athletics department to start collecting data from athletes during practice and enter the next stage of development for BandaVida.  With their permission, he would also like to share the data with the medical community to start making conclusions and discoveries about brain health and Traumatic Brain Injury. His stretch goal and dreams for the future of BandaVida is to make a device that is able to monitor perspiration, heart rate, and blood oxygen level.  This device would be able to give a full picture of the user’s general health.

One thing that Ed would like everyone to know about the product is that he developed this product so that “you can be active your entire life.”    If you have data about your health than you can make better judgements and this data can empower you to make informed decisions.  This is not just a product to make money but it is a product that can help out the public good and is one of Ed’s major motivating factors for creating the device.

Don’t just visit his Kickstarter site, https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/267427906/bandavida-wearable-electronics-to-monitor-head-imp, but donate.  The Kickstarter campaign ends on September 19, so there are only eight more days left to help BandaVida become a reality.