Most of us consider Silicon Valley to be the technological hub of the country, so it comes with little surprise that the resident professional soccer team of the region is at the forefront of on-field tech.
Major League Soccer’s San Jose Earthquakes have recently adopted the Adidas MiCoach platform to optimize player performance on and off the field. “As much as you’re used to doing things a certain way, if you can get this immediate feedback and metrics then put it into use it’s an incredible tool,” Coach Mark Watson tells the Silicon Valley Business Journal.
To track the athletes, a small wearable unit is placed into a pocket on the back of an Adidas undershirt. With the sensor in place, coaches are able to monitor heart rate, distance run, and movement speed all in real-time. An iPad compiles the data and then allows the coaching staff to determine if they are overworking certain players.
While this unprecedented form of player analysis is changing how coaches view the game, there are some concerns rising as the technology moves into the future. Some worry that player medical information gleaned from these sensors could be used against them in future contract negotiations, while others wonder how it will affect player comfort. Needless to say, we can continue to expect to see an emergence of both physical and mental applications for wearable technology throughout the professional sports world.
In fact, the Earthquakes aren’t the only MLS club experimenting with wearable technology. Since last year, the Seattle Sounders have been partnering with analytics company Tableau to visualize data generated from wearables to track player movements and health. The technology assists the team in monitoring player effectiveness, GPS positioning on the field, speed and distance traveled, as well as off-field data like player sleep patterns. Although the players aren’t allowed to wear the technology during games, the information collected throughout training sessions is enough to help improve the team’s strategy, conditioning and roster development.
According to CNBC, Australia-based Catapult has also risen as a leader in the athletic wearable technology arena. The company measures more than 100 fields of data via a device worn under the athletes’ jerseys. Nearly 4,000 professional teams utilize the technology, and has even earned billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks Mark Cuban’s investment.
LED basketball courts, sensor-laden tennis shirts and RFID-embedded shoulder pads are just a few of the tech-based advancements throughout the sporting world in recent months. From the field to locker room, Atmel is right in the middle of the wearable tech action, with a comprehensive portfolio of versatile microcontrollers that power a wide range of platforms and devices to meet the demands of tomorrow’s athletes and coaches