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Collateral Damage and Unmanned Aerial Systems (Drones): A Brief Overview of Assessing Risk

The development and regulation of drones have become a contentious point of conversation over the past several years, with the undeniable advantages and simultaneous difficulties posing a unique challenge for regulators and safety experts to overcome. As we continue to see wide-scale advancements in the technology behind drones and unmanned assets, the need for a better understanding of the risks and mitigating measures is essential. At Biokinetics, we are proud to offer testing and evaluation services for small unmanned aircraft (sUA) that have the potential to be involved in accidental impacts with people.

Through extensive evaluation in our laboratories, our team is able to accurately and efficiently evaluate the safety risk associated with drone units according to standards set by the FAA (14 CFR Part 107) and other governing bodies. Below, we’ll take a look at some of the basics of commercial drone operation, the associated risks, and how trusted evaluation can help mitigate threats to the public. Read on to learn more!

What Are Unmanned Aerial Systems?

While many may be familiar with drones for personal use, unmanned aerial systems have become increasingly common in commercial settings for delivery, military operations, weather reporting, commercial videography and photography, aerial imagery and topography, as well as security purposes. As a remarkably valuable resource for multiple industries, drones allow for efficient operations, and can even help to mitigate certain hazards for humans by removing the need for a physical person to be exposed to dangerous conditions directly.

Thanks to their lightweight, agile and versatile range of applications, UASs have the potential to streamline workloads in certain sectors, saving time and money for owners and operators alike. With that being said, they are not without their share of complications, including:

Less Standardized Legislation

As drones and unmanned assets are a new and emerging technology, they lack the same kind of standardized safety standards and universal risk profiles that other resources already have in place. Legislators, like the Federal Aviation Administration, have established a set of rules, however, the current list should by no means be considered exhaustive, or complete. The reality at this point in time is that the available use and practicalities of drone usage are still very much under review, with questions about determining airspace rights, protection against trespassing (more on that in a moment), and creating regulations that avoid conflict between federal and regional laws while keeping a key focus on the global market.

Safety Concerns

Despite many drones being relatively lightweight, there is no denying that they present a certain element of risk to the public, especially in the case of a crash or fall whereupon an impact can cause direct bodily harm to unsuspecting citizens. Collateral damage caused by drones is often discussed in a military context (and rightfully so), but similar concerns remain even in day-to-day environments where drones may have to navigate structural hazards, stand up to unpredictable weather patterns, and be able to avoid unsuspecting people without an issue. Knowing how to prevent collisions and fall risks, as well as knowing the potential that a specific unit has to cause harm (i.e. increased risk due to weight, speed or physical features) is crucial to lowering the overall danger presented in any application.

Creating a Foundation of Trust and Safety

As drone technology continues to evolve, it is essential that manufacturers, regulators, and drone operators focus on assessing the risks inherent in the use of UAS’ and implement safety measures accordingly. At Biokinetics we know that one of the best ways to prevent impact injuries and reduce risk is through the gathering and analysis of vital information that allows informed decisions to be made with confidence.

For over 45 years, our team of biomechanical engineers has partnered with clients to provide comprehensive full-scale testing and assessment services for drones, as well as accident reconstruction services, ballistic testing, sports injury research and prevention assessment, and more. Biokinetics believes in the power and confidence that comes with knowledge and understanding and is pleased to help our clients create a foundation of safety moving forward by leveraging test results and consulting services. You can trust Biokinetics to provide the right recommendations when it matters most.

Learn more about our drone testing services, as well as our entire range of testing and consulting offerings by contacting our team today!

Preventing Sports Injuries with Protective Gear

Do you know what it takes to keep players safe on the field? Recent sports-related incidents like the commotio cordis suffered by safety Damar Hamlin and more historic events like the career-ending concussions of quarterback Steve Young remind us that the world of professional sports is far from risk-free. No matter how exceptional a player’s ability may be, there are countless variables that can contribute to the risk of serious injuries. Protective equipment cannot eliminate that risk but it can go a long way towards minimizing it.

At Biokinetics, we know that the key to mitigating risk on the field, as well as in other high-risk environments, is to utilize trustworthy data that provides an accurate picture of the exact risks and subsequent protective measures available. Based in Ottawa, Ontario, we are proud to offer comprehensive sports research services designed to help you reduce the risk of head and bodily injuries, assess the protective effectiveness of energy absorbing padding, and conduct expert injury analysis, event reconstructions, and more.

Below, we’ll take a quick look at some of the common types of injuries that pose a risk to athletes, what kinds of questions to ask when procuring protective equipment, and how the biomechanical analysis of risk factors can help everyone stay safe. Read on to learn more!

Not Always a Level Playing Field

While technological advances in protective equipment have helped to lower the overall occurrence of sports-related injuries, as players get stronger and faster, and the energy of collision increases, so too must protective equipment keep pace. The head and neck are at the highest risk. Spinal cord injuries (SCIs) and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can have profound effects on the victim’s quality of life and ability to continue as a professional athlete. Outside of these specific, severe grade injuries, other types of bodily harm caused by athletic activity include:

  • Sprains and torn ligaments
  • Fractured bones
  • Permanent nerve damage
  • Internal organ damage
  • Chronic pain, and more.

Preventing Sports Injuries

The biggest factor when it comes to preventing serious sports injuries is taking a proactive approach to prevention. Identifying and using appropriate gear which has been properly designed and laboratory tested is essential to avoiding significant bodily harm. Essential sports protective gear (variable by sport and application) include:


Helmets offer vital protection on the field, with different models including different design features to best meet the needs of the specific sport. For example, football and ice hockey helmets protect the head by encasing deformable energy absorbing padding beneath a rigid outer shell. The shell spreads out the impact so that a larger area of padding participates in absorbing the energy. Facial protection is offered by steel wire masks or polycarbonate shields. Helmets are meticulously tested to ensure they meet the unique standards for each sport and should be maintained and inspected regularly. Helmets are intended to prevent catastrophic injuries such as TBI and skull fracture, and they certainly factor into preventing minor abraisions and bruises. And while helmets can help reduce the risk of concussion, no helmet can prevent all concussions.

Mouth Guards/Eyewear

Taking a hockey puck, football, or even full body impact that leads to the face can cause significant harm without protective measures in place. Mouth guards help to protect your teeth, tongue gums and other soft tissues inside the mouth, and may even lessen the impact on your jaw and jaw joint. And while standards exist for the materials and care of mouth guards, there are no impact performance test standards for mouth guards. It is important to have good fit and retention of the mouth guard, because it needs to stay in place during an impact.

Similarly, visors and protective eyewear can be a significant form of protection against sports-related projectiles and serve as a barrier against impact and debris that can lead to ocular damage.


Alongside helmets, body padding can go a long way when it comes to lessening the severity of a serious impact on the field. Pads are designed to attenuate the kinetic energy and spread the impact force over a larger area in an effort to prevent soft tissue injuries, contusions and fractures. Furthermore, padding must not only provide adequate impact absorption, but it also needs to be lightweight and avoid inhibiting a player’s range of motion or speed. Extensive sports testing continues to be done on new and evolving forms of lightweight body padding for sports purposes. As new energy absorbing materials emerge and rapid manufacturing methods become available, new padding designs are quickly evolving.

Sports Research and Impact Injury Analysis with Biokinetics

Founded in 1975, Biokinetics is proud to have created a foundation of safety and knowledge under every research initiative we undertake. Mitigating the risk of bodily harm during sporting activity remains a dedicated area of expertise for our team, with dedicated biomechanical engineers and research professionals conducting extensive analysis in our laboratory in Ottawa, Ontario. We are proud to conduct thorough risk and performance analyses on helmets, padding, mouth guards, and other protective equipment and to offer dedicated injury reconstruction and consulting services.

Learn more about our sports research services by contacting our team directly today!

How to Reduce the Risk of Impact Injuries

Do you know the factors that influence your risk of an impact injury? Each year, millions of North Americans suffer life-changing or fatal injuries, with 224,935 injury-related deaths being reported in the US in 2021 alone. Knowing the many risk factors and available prevention measures associated with a wide range of activities and professions such as those in the military or policing field, as well as amateur and professional sports, harm reduction strategies and sustainable safety practices are necessary.

Hope for the best, plan for the worst. At Biokinetics, we understand the value of impact injury research for accurate assessment of the many risks and challenges facing individuals and communities. For more than 45 years, we’ve partnered with regulators, governing bodies and industry across North America to consult and assess injury risks and prevention measures to provide you with information you can trust when it matters most. From protective armour evaluation to understanding human injury tolerances and more, we have you covered.

Below, we’ll take a look at specific measures that can help reduce the risk of impact-related injuries, and how biomechanical analysis can create a safer path forward for everyone. Read on to learn more.

What Are Impact Injuries?

Impact injuries are, as the name suggests, injuries sustained as the result of a collision between the human body and another individual or object. From car accidents to shootings, tackling and other sports plays, there are countless ways to sustain an impact injury, often with life-altering results. Traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, musculo-skeletal injuries and blast exposure injuries have long-lasting consequences making it increasingly important to understand the given risk of such occurrences in any situation.

Those involved in higher risk environments, whether by profession or recreational pursuit, need to be aware of the dangers of impact injuries as well as the available measures to safeguard against them.

Individual-Based Protective Measures

While protective equipment (more on that below) is one line of defense during high-risk activities, there are some standard practices and points of information to keep in mind to lower your chances for harm. These factors include:

  • Remaining alert and aware of surrounding hazards
  • Plan for the worst and identify methods to minimize the risk of encountering those hazards
  • Be educated on the risks and consequences of those risks
  • Using and properly maintaining external protective equipment in situations that demand additional safeguards

Externally Accessible Measures

As mentioned above, there are many scenarios where simply being alert and prepared is not enough to adequately reduce your risk quotient. In the military or policing fields, for example, there is a high likelihood of being exposed to dangerous situations that demand reliable protection from external assailants. Similarly, in a professional sporting scenario, impacts are an inevitability that need to be addressed. In such cases, it is essential to:

  • Assess the type and level of equipment needed for your application
  • Ensure that equipment is able to meet the safety rating needed for your conditions
  • Provide adequate training and/or education for those wearing protective gear and/or using protective equipment to maximize their benefits
  • Routinely monitor and replace worn-out devices and gear to avoid the safety rating being compromised.

    Evaluate Impact Injury Risk with Confidence

Founded in 1975 and based in Ottawa, Ontario, Biokinetics is dedicated to the prevention of impact injuries and the reduction of injury risk in the job field. We are proud of our team of industry experts and highly trained engineers that conduct thorough risk and performance analysis as well as ballistic and blunt trauma testing on helmets, padding, personal body armour and more.

Learn more about our impact injury research services by contacting our team directly today!

Examining the Core Factors of Ballistics Testing

Are you aware of the vital role that ballistics testing plays in guaranteeing the safety and overall performance of protective armour, vehicles, and structural protection systems? As a discipline, ballistics evaluates the launching, flight behaviour, and impact effects of projectiles such as bullets, explosive devices, and other unguided weaponry. By understanding such details, mechanical and ballistics engineers can amass much information, including accurate safety ratings, performance characteristics and more.

For over 45 years, Biokinetics has offered comprehensive consulting, testing, and analysis for terminal ballistics, blast load effects, blunt force trauma, and research-oriented products designed to prevent injuries for those in the police/corrections and military fields, as well as those in the sports and transportation fields. We believe in the power of research to eliminate unnecessary risks and are proud to partner with our clients to help create better product standards, as well as methods of evaluation to ensure optimal performance and safety for everyone when it matters most.
Below, we’ll look at the three core components of ballistics testing and the benefits of partnering with Biokinetics when it comes to your evaluation needs. Read on to learn more!

Why Ballistics Testing Matters

While many may be familiar with the concept of ballistics from a forensics application (examining weapons and projectiles used in a crime), the reality is the field of ballistics armour analysis is much more expansive as a whole. Ballistics testing determines factors that tie into the study of projectile interactions with armour and its protective capacity to prevent perforation and behind-armour effects applicable to body armour, helmets, etc. shields, and vehicle and structural armour systems.

When conducting a ballistics investigation, three core areas are evaluated:

Internal Ballistics

Internal ballistics focuses on the launching of projectiles within the bore of a weapon and involves examining the time taken from lock and ignition to the projectile’s exit from the weapon itself. Internal ballistics evaluates the state of the propellant, energy involved, motion, burning rate equation, and form function to determine the velocity and power behind a projectile upon its release. Ultimate control of all these parameters is needed to obtain consistent and controllable projectile speeds to study the performance of armour systems.

Exterior Ballistics

Exterior ballistics examines how a projectile behaves while in flight after leaving the muzzle. Small and medium calibre projectiles will vary in their flight dynamics as influenced by their in-flight aerodynamics, gyroscopic stabilization, drag resistance, and more. While many of these characteristics are known for specific projectiles, actions are still needed to limit their variability and to measure their pre-impact state.

Terminal Ballistics

Terminal ballistics evaluate what happens after a projectile hits its target. It is one of the most important factors when determining what armour or protective measures are best suited for your specific application. Factors considered in this level of analysis include the penetration depth, how much the projectile expands or fragments, and what weight is retained. Terminal ballistics examines how kinetic energy is transferred from a projectile to a target and what factors must be accommodated for the best overall outcome.

Safety in Understanding

At the core of ballistics injury reduction for military and police-based organizations is the understanding of the interaction between the projectile-armour system and, more relevant, the types and risks of injury from the impact even when the armour stops the projectile. By gaining knowledge of the injury mechanisms and tolerances, and accurate armour performance data, product manufacturers and procurement managers can make informed decisions regarding their next steps in development or purchasing armour with peace of mind.

At Biokinetics, we believe that the root of safety is clear and transparent information. Our ballistic testing services are housed in our full-service and accredited laboratory that features state-of-the-art firing, loading, yaw and velocity monitoring systems that allow us to facilitate projectile and target interactions. Biokinetics also has custom-instrumented surrogates of the head, torso and extremities to evaluate injury potential. Testing is available to standard industry specifications or may be customized for specific programs as necessary. Our highly skilled team of engineers, technicians and industry experts conduct all evaluations.

Contact Biokinetics today to learn more!

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