Both professional and amateur athletes always seek new ways to improve their performance and outperform their competitors. The advent of wearable technology in sports has provided new opportunities to help athletes improve their performance and ensure their safety in games, competitions, and workouts.
The sports industry was among other industries to start using wearable devices for their needs, such as preventing injury, improving performance, and tracking athlete health.
Wearable sports technology was first used in 2009 when the European Soccer club used a wearable device for gauging overall player workload during games. This device was among the first to assist coaches in monitoring each player’s biometrics to know when they’re exhausted or injured on the field.
In 2014, a famous Dutch football manager Louis Van Gall allowed his Manchester United Players to wear the Oculus Rift to the 2014 World Cup games helping them experience the game from other players’ perspectives. Wearable sports technology has improved greatly from biometric monitoring to perceptual and psychological aspects to improve performance.
Wearable sports technologies monitor athletes’ performance, training, and recovery after an injury. The most noticeable advancement in wearable sports technology is letting team administrators, coaches, trainers, and players perform excellently while minimizing injury and sport-related illnesses.
The Role of Wearables Technology in Sports
The use of smart wearable technology in sports is helpful to both amateur and professional athletes whenever they’re training or in a competition. Wearable sports technology helps to monitor the athlete’s well-being, track their training progress, and avoid injuries during games and practices. This is why wearable sports technology is used across different sports industries.
Evolution of Wearable technology in sports
From oddly wired and clogged devices worn earlier by only competitive athletes to stylish accessories and devices worn by casual joggers and average people, wearable technology in sports has dramatically improved over the years.
In the 1980s, athletes used wireless trackers to monitor their heartbeats, but along the line, new devices were introduced, and sports wearable technology took a different turn.
Now there are smart fabrics, smartphones, and devices that can monitor your progress and health as you participate in games and competitions.
Real-Life Examples of Wearable Technology in Sports
Below are some real-life examples of wearable technology in sports:
- Tracking health indicators
Firstbeat Sports from the Finnish company is designed to monitor athletes’ training and recovery and help improve their performance with physiological analytics. The solution is created for both individual athletes and sports clubs.
The solution comprises a sensor connected to the athlete’s body, an app, and a dashboard. The sensor monitors heart rate variability data (HRV), training load, and recovery data. Then this data is further analyzed by an advanced analytic algorithm before it is published in the dashboard and app.
SV Fügen, an Austrian football club, has used Firstbeat Sports to improve their performance. Their main aim was to reach a new level of endurance and performance.
- Monitoring sport performance
A sports technology company, FORM, designed Smart Swim Goggles. The goggles help track progress during swimming workouts. Designed with a reality display on the right lens, the goggles link with FORM’s app. They can be linked to Apple, and Garmin watches. The AR display provides essential instructions for better workouts and vital metrics. A US swim Club recently began to use FORM’s goggles to train and participate in competitions.
How Athletes Are Using It To Train To Win
Athletes are using wearable technology to improve their performance during training and competitions. Modern wearable sports technology provides metrics on players’ overall performance and efficiency. By analyzing these metrics, athletes can know the areas where they need to improve and know which part of the body and muscles are overworked and stressed.
Also, it’s used to prevent injury, and it’s instrumental in recovery. Wearable devices can help monitor athletes’ injuries and gather insights into muscle imbalances.
10 Most Innovative Wearables Technology for Fitness and Sports
A little drone on your wrist takes a video of you during a workout, and a smart shoe checks your heart rate and monitors how many miles you’ve run. Innovative wearable technology is increasing, and there’s always a wearable device for every one of your needs. Below you’ll find a list of 10 innovative wearable fitness and sports gadgets to assist you during your training and games.
- 4iii Sportiiii Sunglasses Mount
The Sportiiiis Heads-Up Display clips are attached to your sports sunglasses and collect data from a heart rate monitor or other ANT+ devices and emit color LED visuals in front of you. Thus, it provides accurate performance feedback on the move, together with audio prompts to help you achieve your training target for heart rate, speed, rhythm, and power.
- Lumo Lift
Lumo lift is designed to solve bad posture problems. It’s a small device that’s placed beneath your collarbone to track core position and other body positions. The Lumo Lift device comprises two tiny devices, including the tracker and one small magnetic plate. The device detects bends at the top of your spine and the positioning of your shoulders, chest, and upper back. The device uses angle displacement as a measure allowing its biomechanics monitoring to know when your body bends, slouches, or vibrates.
- Catapult Player Smart Football Tracker
The Catapult Player, Smart Football Tracker, is the best wearable sports technology to let you know your number of sprints, heatmap, and speed during a football match. This device is authorized by FIFA and is worn by players during a football match. It helps to track and improve the performance of the players while enabling them to monitor their speed, distance, power, sprint distance, load, and intensity on their smartphones using a smart app.
- Metrics Pro Swim Tracker
metrics Pro Swim Tracker helps swimmers to keep track of their progress. This wearable sports technology can be attached to your goggles just behind your head. This device also provides customizable audio feedback while swimming; it works like a virtual coach.
- Sensoria Smart Socks
The Sensoria Smart Socks have three sensors attached on the underside, with one beside the heel and two on the ball of your foot. You’re only required to wear them accordingly ( on the Left and Right foot), and it will monitor the performance of each foot singularly. Then a Bluetooth bracelet needs to be linked to your smartphone through the Sensoria App, and it will monitor your foot landing data, speed, calories burned, distance, ascent, and total steps.
- Moov HR Sweat Band
Moov’s latest tracker takes a different turn from other average gadgets. It is designed as a thin black headband that monitors your heart rate during workouts. Wearing the device on the temple of the head helps you monitor your heart rate because of the increased blood flow. There’s a small silicone casing in the band where the sensor has been placed. And after putting the headband in the right place, you need to activate the Moov app and choose your workout.
- Lomo Type-R Cycling Wearable Coach
The Lomo Type-R Cycling wearable coach is designed especially for cyclists. This device enables cyclists to gain insight into movement metrics. It’s designed with five small rechargeable Bluetooth sensors, and the type-R Sensors are connected to your feet, thighs, and pelvis. As you cycle, the system records all your movement while keeping track of your speed, heart rate, power balance, and other metrics.
- Hykso Boxing Wearable
The boxing wearable by Hysko monitors data for serious fighters fighting against an opponent. It is designed with a pair of connected punch trackers that you can wear inside your hand wraps. A tap on the device will switch on the blue and red lights in the tracker and when it’s time to wear them. Once fitted correctly, it will teach the number of punches you throw and the speed; it also keeps track of intensity and score metrics.
- Nadi X Smart Yoga Pants
This device senses your body’s movement and uses haptic vibrations to correct the wrong movement. For instance, if your form is wrong around your knees or legs, you’ll get a signal from the vibrations that you need to change your move or move in a certain way.
- Mpower Wearable Pod
The Mpower wearable pod is a simple 23-gram pod usually attached to your muscles to measure your muscle strength. The pod measures the EMG electrical signals your muscles produce during exercises, and the data is sent to the app on a connected smartphone. It provides information about muscle fatigue, fast muscle fiber activation levels, etc.
The Risks of Wearable Technology
While most wearable technology devices can help track your progress in sports and monitor your heart rate and sleep, people should not depend entirely on them, especially when making healthcare decisions. Apart from drifting people from the real world into a virtually connected world, it can also be dangerous to their health.
Amidst the other potential risks of wearable technology, the biggest threat is the device’s measurement, especially regarding health issues. If you’re using wearable technology to track your recovery in a treatment program, depending on wearable technology can be life-threatening.
The readings on your wearable device are not a good reason to abandon normal routine medical care, especially if your health condition is critical. The devices may help monitor your health status, but they’re not trusted to diagnose your illness accurately.