NEW YORK (AP) — The NFL has awarded $426,000 spread over three firms for work in the protective equipment and related technologies field.

As part of the HeadHealthTECH Challenge designed to advance improvements in those areas, the league is awarding Baytech Products of Asheville, North Carolina, a $178,000 grant to build and test its prototype HitGard, a multi-component helmet system.

Receiving $148,000 will be Windpact of Leesburg, Virginia to support prototyping and testing of its Crash Cloud, an impact liner system using restricted air flow and foam in helmets and protective gear.

Getting $100,000 will be 2ND Skull of Pittsburgh to further evaluate the effectiveness of its skull cap in reducing impact forces, and developing a second-generation version.

Launched in November 2016, the TECH Challenge series is operated and managed on behalf of Football Research Inc., by Duke University's Clinical and Translational Science Institute.