Sports are all about precision. Performance. Intensity. There are tangible measurables that help gauge everything from optimal performance levels to off-kilter health indicators. As the world of sports becomes more high-stakes, it also becomes more high-tech.
This month, the Out of Bounds staff is presenting a round-up of the top trends and new offerings in wearable technology, technology that enhances fan experience and fitness gadgets.
Zebra MotionWorks™ player tracking system
As the “Official On-Field Player Tracking Provider” of the NFL, sensors in the Zebra MotionWorks™ player tracking system identify the location, motion and direction of every player on the field and provide real-time data for all players, game officials and significant game entities, like flags and chains. It provides performance data in real-time within inches throughout a game, highlighting speed profiles, accumulated distances, fitness graphs and coverage heat maps. It won Best Sports Technology at this year’s Sports Business Journal’s Sports Business Awards.
Based on the idea that mouthguard sensors, instead of helmet or chinstrap sensors, can better detect head trauma (because they are placed in contact with a player’s rear molars, which touch the skull), Force Impact Technologies has created the FITguard mouthguard. A built-in accelerometer and gyroscope measures linear and angular acceleration to predict concussions and brain injuries by measuring impact. LED lights on the guard indicate whether medical attention is needed.
With Google Glass’ production stalled, the smartglasses market is wide open — and Japanese company Jins is taking a stab at entry. Sensors and technology hidden in the ear and nose pieces track movements and posture and balance. They help count the calories one burns in addition to tracking eye movement to provide feedback on responsiveness. Company representatives say the glasses have all the same capabilities as the popular FitBit bands, but with greater accuracy, thanks to the stable position on the wearer’s face.
Samsung’s Sports Live App
Part of the company’s smart television line, the Sports Live App provides on-screen information about the game in progress. The feature takes information from the broadcasting networks — such as results, statistics and other relevant figures — and presents them in a screen overlay presented as a dual-screen layout to keep viewers from having to search for supplemental game information online.
FreeD Video Technology
Offering 360-degree video coverage of key plays from all live game action within the arena, the technology hopes to fully immerse viewers in the game by providing a “true three-dimensional scene, comprised of three-dimensional ‘pixels’ that faithfully represent reality.” Currently in use by some NFL, MLB and NBA teams, the company hopes to be able to eventually deliver the technology right to the consumer at home, who will be able to call up a replay of any play right from his or her own TV.
Sporting Innovation’s Fan360 Uphoria
A mobile app that seeks to improve fans’ in-game experience, Sporting Innovation’s Fan360 Uphoria offers in-game replays, gaming and rewards features that increase fans’ knowledge and enjoyment of the game experience, mobile ticketing, social interaction and commerce to provide an all-in-one solution to stadium perks. By identifying each fan uniquely and building a comprehensive user profile, the company hopes to increase interaction between fans and promote an all-around better fan experience, while providing valuable feedback to team management about fan preferences and behaviors.
The fitness-specific, cost-effective alternative to fitness tracking via an Apple Watch, the Vivoactive features an LCD touch screen that logs running, cycling, swimming and golf, as well as everyday activity tracking and works in up to 50 meters (over 164 feet) of water. The rechargeable battery lasts up to 3 weeks (or 10 hours, if using GPS as well).
FitLinxx Amp Strip
A small adhesive bandage hosts a set of sensors that tell you how hard to train and when to rest. The strip monitors heart rate through cycles of training, sleep, and recovery to provide feedback that helps you find the balance between too little and too much training.