This weekend’s Indy 500 (May 27) could be one of the safest in U.S. auto racing history by combining 200-mph race cars with emerging MEMS technologies.
Along with new safety features created by IndyCar engineers, MEMS sensors like the three high-G accelerometers inside each driver’s earpiece will be used to detect concussions. The same high-G sensors may eventually be used by NASA to protect astronauts from hard splashdowns.
IndyCars are now equipped to stream data from three high-G accelerometers into black-box accident recorders looping through a 90-second memory. In an accident, the system shuts down on impact. After a crash, accelerometer data from 30 seconds before and 60 seconds after impact are correlated with head injuries. Accident data can then be used to improve IndyCar cockpit safety.