A mobile-based in-situ concussion assessment application


Sept 2016 – Dec 2016


Each year, an estimated 1.6-3.8 million concussions occur in sports (such as soccer, football, and basketball) or recreational activities, with the majority occurring in children aged 5-18.  Athletes in some of these sports do not wear a helmet to detect impact. Current concussion assessment tools require expensive equipment or specialized training often not available in youth sports leagues or at the local community sports centers. However, timely diagnosis of concussion is necessary to avoid long-term cognitive impairments and to continue the sporting career of the player.

We designed “Sideline”, a mobile application to detect and monitor common concussion symptoms on the field. In a typical concussion event, players are taken to the sidelines and then parents or coach start the “Sideline” application. The application starts with concussion symptoms test followed by a working memory test, a visual memory test, and physical balance test. Finally, Sideline also allows parents and coaches to capture the images of the pupil with a camera of any resolution to train image recognition algorithms. Additionally, Sideline monitors the player’s symptoms and cognitive functions in natural conditions up to 48 hours after impact (using ecological momentary assessments). You can access the code here.

Sideline allows:

  1. Non-experts such as parents and coaches of young athletes to more confidently assess and take preventive measures against concussions.
  2. Initiate a concussion assessment using mobile-phones immediately after an impact in the absence of an expert caregiver.
  3. Gather pupil dilation images from consumer-grade smartphone cameras to generate a database of concussion-related pupil dilations.

Technology Used:

Android, Android Sensor Manager (Accelerometer, Gyroscope, and Magnetometer)


Interaction Design, Android Development, Usability Engineering

Skills Developed:

Android Development, Project Management, Health Interface Design


Elizabeth Stowell (Ph.D. Student, Northeastern University)