Based in Edinburgh, safety tech company HIT is hoping to bring awareness of head injuries into public consciousness. BikeBiz hears how their product could be a game-changer for riders
This piece first appeared in the September edition of BikeBiz magazine – get your free subscription here
Can you give us a little background on HIT?
‘HIT’ stands for Head Impact Trauma – it all started off as a university project, where HIT founder Euan Bowen was studying product design at Edinburgh Napier University. His friend and rugby team-mate had suffered a concussion and then went on to suffer a further two, which then resulted in him having to decide if it was worth continuing playing rugby. His friend made that decision to retire from rugby aged 22.
What confused Euan most was the fact that head injuries and concussions in sport are so common yet there is very little out there to help recognise, remove and assess head impacts. Euan found that protocols varied across different sports, and that there was a growing concern around the long term health impacts head injuries play, in particular with retired professional rugby and football players.
Going from concept, research and into business, in late 2018 Euan was approached by an investor, Andrew Wright, who is now CEO of HIT. HIT started off as a rugby product, but then the global pandemic put a hold on our visions to pursue the rugby market, with team sports grinding to a standstill.
We quickly pivoted and went back into research and development mode, and that’s when we recognised the gap within individual sports and in particular mountain biking and cycling.
HIT Impact is a wearable tech that links to a companion app, measuring and tracking head impacts in sport and recreational activities: a solution to improve live impact force detection in sport that is multi-purpose across all activities, for all ages.
HIT+ is due out this summer combining GPS tracking and more improved features.
What area of the market do you target?
We are committed to growing and developing within the cycling market and communities. We have had success in mountain biking and road cycling with the view to understand the impact G levels riders are exposed to, providing instant incident clarity and severity, that would then lead to them seeking further medical attention or not, to get straight back onto the bike or stop.
We are also open to other cycle sports such as gravel, BMX racing/freestyle, track cycling and e-sports cycling. On the other hand, we have had great success within youth sport, particularly with parents buying the device for their children – parents have stated that this tech helps them to understand if their child can continue or needs to be removed from the activity, which empowers this decision-making process.
In essence our product is an ideal addition to any sport and or activity in which you wear a helmet.
What makes your products unique? What unique offerings do you have for retailers?
HIT’s key USP is how the device and app feed the user with live-time data, allowing the user to recognise, remove and assess. Our product is an industry first, acting as that early indicator of head impacts, providing instant clarity of impact for riders, teams, parents to take action from an unbiased and objective data collection.
We know that concussions are a reactive injury to impacts to the head – HIT is capturing that exact G force and severity of impact, allowing for early detection and instant clarity when assessing yourself, friend, child or team rider for injury risk.
After all, you’re asking the one organ that’s potentially injured to self-diagnose. What excites us is the fact that we can capture all this real-life data, after all there are only so many times researchers and academics can simulate or get people to fall off bikes in a clinical setting.
This data capture is then going to be used with our research partners Professor Angus Hunter and Dr Howard Hurst for us to collectively further our learning within head injuries, concussion and head impacts in sport – which will be a monumental contribution to the wider brain health ecosystem within sport.
Furthermore, our price point (£89.99 for HIT Impact) makes us very accessible – we don’t believe in pricing out anyone in sport when it comes to such an important healthcare aspect like brain health. We aspire and want everyone from playground to podium to be wearing our HIT tech!
HIT is a first and only live impact severity detection system on the market with an excited and growing customer base.
What are your plans for 2022 and beyond?
Well, we have an exciting summer in store – our HIT+ product launches! This product has GPS included, a rechargeable battery, increased range at 100m, 22 hours of internal memory storage and more exciting features available in coming months, with a presale launching prior.
HIT+ is a game changing product development. The 555 RAAW Gravity Racing downhill World Cup team has announced that from the Lenzerheide, Switzerland race weekend they will be using HIT tech for all their riders as the sport actively looks to pursue better understanding and care on concussion management.
Embedding our tech into helmets and mandatory usage in pro racing is in discussion now between all parties, which are plans we are working on behind the scenes – stay tuned for updates! HIT is available to retailers now with an attractive cost, eco packaging and shipping logistics in place.
Contact email@example.com to speak to a member of the HIT team today.