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Today, the NFL announced that Xenith will be competing in the HeadHealthTech NFL Helmet Challenge, and that they will grant Xenith’s proposal for $412,000 in full towards their submission, Project Orbit.
The NFL Helmet Challenge is an innovation challenge that aims to stimulate the development by experts, innovators, and helmet manufacturers of a new helmet for NFL players that outperforms, based on laboratory testing, all helmet models currently worn by NFL players.
The challenge will culminate in July 2021 with the applicants submitting helmet prototypes for testing in laboratory conditions that represent potentially concussive impacts in the NFL. Applicants will compete for up to a $1 million award.
As you know, Xenith makes exclusively “Top-Performing” helmets that exceed even the most stringent laboratory tests, including our newest flagship offering, Xenith Shadow XR. However, our athlete-centric approach to design, engineering, and development, transcends the lab utilizing athlete insights and a holistic view of the athlete’s experience on the field including areas of comfort, fit, and balance.
The plan for Project Orbit is to expand upon these core areas and create something monumental in moving the game of football forward.
Xenith fosters a collaborative spirit and design-thinking mindset to product innovation. In addition to the world-class expertise we have built in-house, we have secured best-in-class partners and global pioneers in energy control, material science, and additive manufacturing.
Xenith is spearheading the NFL Helmet Challenge team efforts, working closely with BASF, RHEON Labs, and The University of Waterloo. Xenith has long-term relationships with each of these partners, now leveraging everyone's respective areas of expertise all in one product for the very first time.
Material science experts BASF helped develop the novel polymer shell found in Xenith Shadow and Xenith Shadow XR – an incredibly durable material that can withstand over 10,000 impacts. Xenith also worked with BASF on the protective KINETIX material found in the first ever purpose-built protective headgear for non-tackle football, Xenith LOOP.
We began working with The University of Waterloo after the development of the Xenith X2E finite element model, sponsored by the NFL in 2016. Xenith and The University of Waterloo worked together on research projects that explored the effects of helmet mass on impact performance. In that vein, Waterloo will contribute to material testing, finite element modeling, and simulations for Project Orbit.
In 2019, Xenith entered a partnership with RHEON Labs – an ingredient brand based in the UK whose technology powers the energy control layer in Xenith Shadow XR. Together we created a unique energy control cell that cushions low-speed impacts, but intelligently strengthens for high-speed impacts. These RHEON™ cells compress to absorb linear impact and shear to optimally control rotational impact energy, reducing the resulting acceleration of the head.
Xenith, RHEON™ and The University of Waterloo will combine the chemistry of RHEON™ technology and the simulation capabilities of UofW to digitally iterate an optimal geometry for the protective layer of Project Orbit.
BASF will leverage their deep expertise and experience in 3D printing to co-develop and produce components to optimize fit and athlete comfort.