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AT&T 5G Helmet


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Creative Technology
Product Design, Prototype Development, Innovation

The Mayda Creative Co. proudly presents a groundbreaking development in sports technology: the AT&T 5G Helmet, a revolutionary device designed to empower deaf and hard of hearing athletes in American Football.

This project is the result of our multi-year partnership with creative agency Translation, AT&T, football helmet manufacturer Riddell, and Gallaudet University—a leading institution for the deaf and hard of hearing community.


In American Football, clear communication between coach and players is fundamental to success, so our journey began with a simple yet profound question: How can we use design and technology to enhance communication between coaching staff and players during a game?

Gallaudet University is home to the 'Bisons', a college-football team that competes in the NCAA's college football division. Using AT&T's newly-launched zero-latency 5G network, the ambition of the project was to develop a next generation helmet that could harness this technology to help level the playing field between Gallaudet's athletes and their hearing opponents.

Design & Development: A Collaborative Approach

Central to our entire development process was a human-centered design approach. We immersed ourselves in understanding the specific communication challenges faced by Gallaudet's athletes, whilst also exploring the design and architecture of the existing technology available; the Riddell SpeedFlex helmet, to identify potential innovation and development opportunities.

Through extensive interactive sessions, each round of user feedback was meticulously integrated into each design iteration. This ongoing loop of presentation, feedback, and refinement was instrumental in evolving the helmet into a sophisticated communication tool, tailored to empower its users.

Technical Innovation & Safety Compliance

Creating the AT&T 5G Helmet was a multifaceted technical endeavor. We faced the challenge of integrating a battery, transmitter, visual display, and necessary cabling into a SpeedFlex helmet without sacrificing its safety in high-impact sports or compromising its functionality.

Collaborating directly with Riddell, we embarked on a journey of innovation and customization. Our experimentation revealed that a combination of off-the-shelf and custom-built technologies was essential.

The helmet, featuring a LetinAR prismatic display made from polymer composite and other precision-engineered components, successfully balanced functionality with safety. Rigorous testing against NCAA's stringent safety standards ensured its readiness for the challenging conditions of college football.

Trial & Triumph

After two years of dedicated product development, iterative design, thorough safety testing, and innovative prototyping, the AT&T 5G Helmet and its custom app were finalized. This phase marked a significant achievement in our journey, transforming a bold idea into a tangible, functional technology ready for game day.

October 7th, 2023, marked a historic day in college football as Gallaudet University debuted this pioneering helmet in a competitive game. Approved for trial use by the NCAA, the first time an augmented helmet has been sanctioned by the sport's governing body, the team's Quarterback Brandon Washington made the game-winning touchdown wearing the helmet to nationwide media coverage, including ESPN, Fox Sports, Good Morning America and CNN.

Expanding Horizons

The journey of the AT&T 5G Helmet, from its initial conceptualization to its successful deployment and widespread acclaim, is an example of the transformative power of technology in sports.

As we look to the future, the potential enhancements and applications of this technology in professional sports are boundless; from integrating camera technology for live point-of-view feeds in 5G-enabled stadiums to expanding this innovation to professional sports levels, like the NFL, we hope this game-changing technology marks the beginning of advancing inclusivity at all levels of the game, and how audiences engage with the sport.