Sports-related concussions are an important, relevant topic and many instructors would like their students to investigate different types of helmets or other mitigating devices. Medical literature suggests that concussions may occur when brain tissues experience accelerations in helmeted impacts upward of 66 g (25% probability of mTBI) and are more likely the higher the acceleration*.
Vernier sells several accelerometers for student use, but only one of them is able to measure accelerations that are this high. The Go Direct® Acceleration Sensor (GDX-ACC) contains two 3-axis accelerometer chips, one that is +/- 16 g and one that is +/- 200 g. We recommend using the +/- 200 g accelerometer for studies related to concussions. Enable the channels X-axis acceleration-high, Y-axis acceleration-high, and Z-axis acceleration-high when you set up data collection. We recommend setting up a data-collection rate of 1000 samples/s and a collection time of 1 s or less. Set data collection to a triggering event, such as one axis of the accelerometer increasing across the value 30 m/s2. Note that the total magnitude of acceleration can be determined by setting up a calculated column that takes the square root of the sum of the squares of the values on all three axes.