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Get to Know an IoT Device: Shockbox – Helping You Know When a Hit is Too Hard

With the Superbowl around the corner, we thought we'd cover an IoT device that is helping athletes become more aware of the bumps along the way.

Gartner, Inc. estimates that there will be nearly 20.8 billion devices on the Internet of Things by 2020.  We recently started a new column where we talk to Internet of Things (IoT) device vendors about their products, especially in regards to security testing, in-the-wild testing, and load/performance/stress testing.  Today (ahead of the Big Game this Sunday) we present the second article in our IoT series, about The Shockbox by i1 Biometric.


Q: What problem does your device solve?

A: As is, in its current state, Shockbox serves as more of an alerting tool.  This is not a concussion diagnostic tool, but does provide the user with real-time information around general head impact magnitude. This essentially gives the user objective data to make a more informed decision around athletic safety.

Q: How many can be connected to a single receiver?

A: With the current model, you can connect up to 128 Shockbox devices to a single mobile device (cell phone/tablet)

Q: Are there any network/device limitations?  What kind of connectivity issues are there?

A: Shockbox uses Bluetooth Classic, so there is a range limitation of up to 80 yards.

Q: How long is the battery life?

A: The battery life on Shockbox last several weeks depending on amount of use. I have had units sit on my desk for a full month (not in use) and still have some battery life left in them.

Q: Is the user forced to alter the default password/any interesting security?

A: Shockbox uses a mobile app to transmit the data to the user.  We advise each user to create an account for Shockbox, which gives them the ability to save all information on the cloud for later use and to have access to some analytics around the recorded impacts. Creating a Shockbox account does require a login name and password to access the information, but if the user does not want to use cloud services they can use the app and Shockbox without needing to sign in. Without using cloud services, their data will not be backed up however.

Q: Are there physical constraints that reduce connectivity (a stadium full of wifi-enabled cell phones, etc., particular kinds of metal, etc.)?

A: Cellular noise can create a restraint for the Shockbox in a large setting, but as a company, teams that play in large stadiums typically use our premium product, the Vector Mouth Guard. The Vector Mouth Guard communicates using a proprietary radio wave at 900 mhz so it does not have any issues with real-time data being interfered with. Our Cue Sport Sensor will be equipped with both 900 mhz and Bluetooth 4.0 capabilities.

Q: Does it only do outbound messages, or does it receive as well (can the sensor be rebooted remotely, etc.)?

A: Shockbox has to be rebooted manually. Messages are sent from the Shockbox to its corresponding connected device.

Q: What future advancements can we look forward to seeing, and are there any new product areas of growth?

A: We have our Vector Mouth Guard, our premium product that not only provides information around safety, but is also a great coaching tool to help improve athlete performance.  We are also releasing our Cue Sport Sensor as mentioned above in 2017. Would love to talk to you about these over the phone to provide a better understanding.  We are in the transition of evolving into Athlete Intelligence™, a name that better explains what we do, and just finished up our first annual Coaches/Tech Summit earlier this month.

Background information paraphrased from Concussion 101 at Prevascus.com:

The millions of sports-related concussions reported per year in the U.S. has led the CDC to declare this an epidemic, with high school athletes sustaining around 300,000 concussions annually.  A 2011 U.S. high school study reported that high school athletic concussion rates have been increasing by 16% per year, which may be due to increased injury or better diagnosing or both.  A 2012 American Academy of Pediatrics’ annual meeting report suggests that high schools with athletic trainers (ATs) have concussion rates much higher than those that don’t (8 times higher in girls’ soccer and 4.5 times higher in girls’ basketball). Again, the reason for such higher concussion rates may be due to the fact that ATs are better at spotting subtle signs of concussions.  A 2012 study of 20 high school sports reported that 13.2% of all injuries in the sports studied were concussions, two thirds in competition and one-third during practice.