Starkville Company with Ties to MSU HPC2 Research Gains TECH Challenge Grant from NFL

August 30, 2018

A Starkville-based company launched from a Mississippi State research program is receiving $20,000 for testing of a product to improve safety for football players.

The National Football League (NFL) and Football Research, Inc. (FRI) announced recently that Yobel Technologies, LLC is receiving a grant to support testing of their optimized, lightweight, energy-absorbent prototyped faceguard that is designed to fit onto existing commercial helmets.

Mark Horstemeyer is an MSU professor and the Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems (CAVS) Chair in Computational Solid Mechanics in MSU’s James Worth Bagley College of Engineering’s Department of Mechanical Engineering. He also is founder and principal of Yobel.

Yobel is a start-up company based on Horstemeyer’s research findings at MSU and was made possible by the Mississippi University Research Authority laws, or MURA.  The MURA process allows research faculty to start a company to further develop technology owned by the university.

MSU’s Office of Technology Management administers the MURA process and works to assess, protect and manage the intellectual property developed by MSU faculty, staff and students. OTM serves the university and its stakeholders by facilitating the transition of MSU-owned IP to the marketplace. Additionally, MSU’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Outreach provided early stage assistance to Yobel in developing viable business and marketing plans.

At MSU, Horstemeyer is part of an interdisciplinary research program working to improve designs for football helmets with the hopes of reducing concussions.

Yobel is among winners of the HeadHealthTECH Challenge IV, the latest in the Tech Challenge series, which is operated on behalf of FRI by Duke University’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute. The TECH Challenge series is designed to stimulate research and innovation in protective equipment including helmets and related technologies, turf systems, shoulder and other pads, and additional innovative concepts.

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Story by Allison Mathews