In today’s world, it seems as though sweat and repetition just aren’t enough for the elite athlete. As a result, a growing number of athletes are now turning to high-tech gadgets to optimize their training sessions and in-game performance.
After publishing our post about coaches using wearable technology to analyze and assess soccer players in training, we decided to compile a list of several other smart gizmos that are working to give athletes an edge in their respective sports.
1. Shockbox Football Helmet Insert
At this point, we’re all well aware of the concussion epidemic that is prevalent throughout the game of football. Created to help alleviate that issue, the Shockbox is a removable sensor that alerts a smartphone app when a player has endured a hit that could have potentially resulted in a concussion or other head trauma. The accompanying application can track an entire team of players and fits in almost any helmet.
2. iPunch Boxing Glove
These gloves, designed for boxing or mixed martial arts, feature embedded sensors within the padding that alert the striker as to how hard they are hitting and how quickly they are throwing punches. The statistics are then uploaded to a smartphone application and can be tracked to demonstrate progress through a weekly workout routine or a professional training camp. Watch out, Mike Tyson!
3. 94Fifty Smart Basketball
As seen at this year’s CES, the 94Fifty Ball allows any player to have a professional shooting coach analyzing their jumper whenever they put up a shot. This remarkable smart ball uses a series of sensors to track an array of statistics related to the physics of a player’s shot. The ball then produces a report and transmits the statistics to a smartphone application. The app can then tell any hooper where their shot is falling flat. With ringing endorsements from basketball personalities, including Mike Brey and Michael Conley Jr., it is obvious the 94Fifty is a slam-dunk!
4. Babolat Play Pure Drive Tennis Racquet
Does your serve need a little more work? Luckily for you, this connected racquet includes two sensors in the base that track shot velocity, technique, and variety. The included web application enables a user to monitor their play styles and compare them to others around the globe. The lightweight sensor ensures that this high-tech racqut feels no different than a player’s typical tool. Time to come out swingin’ like Venus and Serena!
5. Nike Fuel Band SE
Over the next couple of years, sports and wellness bands will continue to drive wearable adoption. The Fuel Band is Nike’s flagship smart product, and rightfully so. The stylish band tracks nearly every aspect of your daily activities and uses a complex application to produce a detailed report about your fitness levels. The app utilizes Nike’s massive community to compare statistics and analysis with other athletes and fitness fanatics across the globe.
6. Prazza RFID Golf Ball
When most of us hit the links, there is no doubt we will lose a ball… or nine! Inspired by this all-too-common occurrence, the team at Prazza has embedded an RFID chip into the ball that enables a sensor to track the location of the tiny white sphere. The smart balls are manufactured by one of the world’s top golf ball builders and are created to fit USGA code. Say goodbye to trekking through the woods to track your shot and say hello to Prazza!
7. SwingSmart Golf Swing Analyzer
Now if you’re one of the lucky golfers who possess the ability to keep the ball in the fairway, you may be looking to tune up your swing to get to the next level. By simply attaching the Swingsmart to any one of your clubs – from driver down to putter – the tiny sensor can analyze every single aspect of a swing. From swing speed to club face angle, the SwingSmart has it all covered and displayed on a handy phone application.
8. Zepp Baseball Swing Sensor
Quite similar to the aforementioned SwingSmart, the Zepp unit hooks onto the knob of a bat and records a batter’s swing plane. Fine-tuning your swing is an ongoing process for any baseball player. Using a nifty mobile app, the Zepp technology can reproduce a player’s swing in 3D and provide much needed analysis. It even allows you to compare your own analytics to professionals who have taken a hack using the device. Get ready to experience your swing like never before!
9. Trace Action Sports Sensor
Have you ever nailed that perfect trick on your skateboard without a soul around to witness your greatness? Like most things in the modern world, it didn’t happen without video evidence, right? How are you supposed to brag to all of your friends? That’s where the Trace Sensor comes in. For all you future Tony Hawks, this tiny puck can attach to almost any board or blade and record every movement you make. You can finally have proof of all your slick tricks uploaded to a smartphone app that will corroborate your greatest stories!
10. Nerf Cyber Hoop
No childhood is complete without a few impromptu dunk contests on a Nerf basketball hoop! To keep up with today’s tech-savvy teen crowd, Nerf has jumped into the cyber world by creating a connected rim that allows a player to share their best slams and challenge others to rock the rim. The hoop can sync up to your mobile device, and opens the lane for head-to-head games and other contests with friends. Highlight reel, here you come!
If organizing the proper workout has always puzzled you, a trend is developing in the wearable marketplace to help pump you up (cue Arnold Schwarzenegger voice). A new wave of high-tech gym clothing uses a series of electromyographic (EMG) sensors embedded within fabric to analyze nearly every aspect of your body while training. The Athos system operates with a synergy of three items: the clothing, the Core, and the accompanying mobile app. The clothing features biosignal monitoring seamlessly built into performance apparel which communicates its findings back to the Bluetooth-enabled Core device. The sensor-laden apparel can sense the activity inside of muscle fibers and track exactly how hard, and how well, your body is working.
12. Adidas miCoach
The Adidas miCoach is the apparel giant’s platform for wearable trackers and its coaching electronics, such as the Smart Ball and the miCoach Elite training system (a smart soccer jersey to outfit entire teams). The Smart Ball is equipped with a built-in sensor which enables a player to receive instant feedback on their kicking and striking skills via mobile app. Players can track their improvements over time by recording stats and comparing with fellow teammates. Just recently, Major League Soccer’s San Jose Earthquakes have adopted the Adidas MiCoach platform to optimize player performance on and off the field. 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.
The sports world is becoming increasingly connected, and even more awesome because of it. In time, we can expect to see a slew of sensors and smart equipment hit the market, providing athletes with real-time information ranging from technique to performance. When you’re unable to figure out why you missed a shot, for some reason can’t hit a pitch, or find yourself needing a trainer, these microcontroller-embedded tools will come through in the clutch. It’s game time for the Internet of (Sports) Things!