5 amazing pieces of wearable tech being implemented in professional sports
Jul13

5 amazing pieces of wearable tech being implemented in professional sports

Wearable tech in professional sports is quite literally a game-changing development. It eradicates what is perhaps the most infuriating facet of any professional game: subjectivity. Fans will no longer be able to accuse players of missing shots they “should” have made, because hard facts will determine whether the shot was even possible. Coaches will be able to tell with precision which of their athletes are too tired for the next play or which are suffering from an injury they have yet to start feeling. Moreover, data will tell coaching staff who isn’t pulling their weight on the team — and why. As fans watch players’ stats onscreen and coaches keep a close watch on previously immeasurable statistics, wearable tech currently being used by professional sports organizations may catapult athletic programs to higher levels of efficiency and accountability. National Football League Catapult Catapult calls itself “the most used secret in sport,” though it may not be such a secret anymore. The golden egg of this Australian-based company is a lightweight device worn on the body that aims at analyzing and reducing sports injuries as they happen. The sensor is capable of tracking over 100 metrics including speed, acceleration, distance, and heart rate, sending that information to coaches on the sidelines in real time. In this way teams can determine if particular workouts are doing more harm than good. By specifically choosing not to partner with tech-specific companies, Catapult gave itself the freedom and ability to work with “nearly half of the NFL teams, a third of NBA teams, and 30 major college programs,” notes Fast Company in its list of the 50 most innovate companies in the world this year (of which Catapult is #12!). Not only does this sports technology save players from potentially deadly injuries, it makes them more efficient at what they do. Zebra Last season, the NFL partnered with Illinois-based company Zebra Technologies to embed RFID chips into the players’ shoulder pads, allowing for the broadcast of player statistics to fans in real time. This changes things for those “couch coaches,” as Zebra GM Jill Stelfox calls them. “If we know closing distance of a defender and an offensive guy, you can really know whether that hit would be made or whether he really could’ve made that play.” The goal is to install receivers in NFL stadiums that would log player location up to six inches, as well as track acceleration, deceleration, and distance. The sensors themselves are smaller than a quarter and run on watch batteries. A few months ago, the NFL signed a four-year deal with Sportradar U.S., a data network whose aim is to record scores, play-by-plays, and player stats in real time. Zebra’s hardware coupled with this pool of information...

Read More