Measurement of Hybrid III Head Impact Kinematics Using an Accelerometer and Gyroscope System in Ice Hockey Helmets

Ann Biomed Eng. 2015 Aug;43(8):1896-906. doi: 10.1007/s10439-014-1197-z. Epub 2014 Dec 5.


Helmet-based instrumentation is used to study the biomechanics of concussion. The most extensively used systems estimate rotational acceleration from linear acceleration, but new instrumentation measures rotational velocity using gyroscopes, potentially reducing error. This study compared kinematics from an accelerometer and gyroscope-containing system to reference measures. A Hybrid III (HIII) adult male anthropometric test device head and neck was fit with two helmet brands, each instrumented with gForce Tracker (GFT) sensor systems in four locations. Helmets were impacted at various speeds and directions. Regression relationships between GFT-measured and reference peak kinematics were quantified, and influence of impact direction, sensor location, and helmet brand was evaluated. The relationship between the sensor output and the reference acceleration/velocity experienced by the head was strong. Coefficients of determination for data stratified by individual impact directions ranged from 0.77 to 0.99 for peak linear acceleration and from 0.78 to 1.0 for peak rotational velocity. For the data from all impact directions combined, coefficients of determination ranged from 0.60 to 0.80 for peak resultant linear acceleration and 0.83 to 0.91 for peak resultant rotational velocity. As expected, raw peak resultant linear acceleration measures exhibited large percent differences from reference measures. Adjustment using regressions resulted in average absolute errors of 10-15% if regression adjustments were done by impact direction or 25-40% if regressions incorporating data from all impact directions were used. Average absolute percent differences in raw peak resultant rotational velocity were much lower, around 10-15%. It is important to define system accuracy for a particular helmet brand, sensor location, and impact direction in order to interpret real-world data.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accelerometry / methods*
  • Adult
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Craniocerebral Trauma* / pathology
  • Craniocerebral Trauma* / physiopathology
  • Craniocerebral Trauma* / prevention & control
  • Head Protective Devices*
  • Head*
  • Hockey*
  • Humans
  • Male