It’s no secret that traumatic brain injuries and concussions remain a huge area of concern for those participating in sports, but developing tools to accurately diagnose the issue right away has proved difficult.

That doesn’t mean that people aren’t trying, however. Tools that measure head and helmet movement have sought to address the issue, but as Crains’ Chicago Business reports, new technology in development is seeking to become the first FDA-approved tool that can detect concussions in real-time.

NoMo Diagnostics is developing technology that measures two brainwaves that are strong enough to be measured outside the skull. CEO Harald Steltzer told Crain’s that the technology to measure that kind of electrical activity hasn’t been compact enough to be used in this way until now. 

“The idea was to try to come up with an instantaneous measurement where you can fully automate how a neurologist would be looking at a brainwave pattern and having that — like a fire alarm — be the signal for a call to action,” Steltzer told Crain’s. 

The company’s website describes their work as “developing a platform technology leveraging a miniaturized quantitative electroencephalogram device with a novel biosensor that will be worn under-the-helmet by both athletes and military to alert when mild traumatic brain injury (concussion) is detected. A proprietary algorithm is used to process the brainwaves and should it register a physiologically relevant concussive event, an unambiguous alert is sent to the sidelines or command rescue operations.” 

The technology is still in development, but has already received backing from headgear manufacturer Bats-Toi, the Coulter Foundation at Columbia University, and the National Security Innovation Network. Steltzer hopes that in a matter of years, the technology will be available as an added feature in helmets produced by familiar brands such as Riddell and Schutt.

Jason Scott is Online Managing Editor of Athletic Business.