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Can Hedgehogs Make Football Safer?

If you have ever seen a Hedgehog before, you may wonder how the quills on their back work. When a hedgehog falls, its spine functions as a shock-absorber and protects it. If these quills could somehow be replicated for humans, they could potentially offer similar protection. This is where Hedgemon, a Cleveland-based technology startup, enters. 

The quills of a hedgehog inspired Hedgemon to develop a product that could one day prevent football concussions, cushion the inner soles of running shoes, and protect soldiers.

The company has recently received patent approval for its hedgehog-inspired impact protection technology.

CEO Emily Kennedy says that "the initial focus is to create a liner for football helmets to protect players from concussions.” Hedgemon hopes to obtain venture funding and supply or license its technology following a test this fall at a certified lab.

"We've had some preliminary conversations with all football helmet manufacturers," Kennedy said. “We need the data to blow their socks off.” 

The company received patent claims for future personal and material impact protection products, using the hedgehog-inspired modules. They include body armor, athletic shoe midsoles, child car seats, fall-protection flooring, transport cases, electronics housing and automotive paneling. The company is seeking foreign-territory approval.

"The total market for Hedgemon's impact protection technology exceeds $10 billion when other potential applications are factored," the company's proposal stated.

Click here to read the full article with Crain’s Cleveland Business:

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