Tag Archives: Sports Wearables

Wearable tech transforming how coaches evaluate players on the pitch

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 courtssensor-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

Smart wearable tech for fitness buffs

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 brains of the system, the Core, houses the ability to analyze your body through EMG sensors. The smart apparel uses this technology to track muscle effort, muscle target zones, and muscle fatigue. It even goes further to monitor heart rate and breathing patterns. This information is then fed to the mobile app where your workout can be further dissected. A user can set various targets for themselves or even correct bad form and learn to prevent injury. The app also tracks workouts and can log gains and improvements.

According to The Verge‘s Ben Popper, EMG operates upon the knowledge that, “When you move, the contraction of muscle fibers emits an electric signal which can be recorded and measured.” While most EMG units used by doctors can run up to $5,000, an Athos shirt can be had for just $99, though the Core unit costs an additional $199.


Six-time NBA All Star Jermaine O’Neal has even invested in the Redwood City, California-based smart fitness apparel startup. “When I saw Athos for the first time, my immediate thought was how much more longevity it can give athletes by allowing us to train smarter and prevent injury through a better understanding and fine tuning of our bodies,” the Golden State Warrior center explained.

Also on the high-tech wearable workout market is the Leo, marketed to endurance athletes. “We can actually use these signals to measure your lactic acid levels and alert users before they get a cramp if they are pushing the pace too hard,” Leo also utilizes EMG and can do things that were only previously possible within the confines of a doctor’s office,” Leo Founder Leonard MacEachern told The Verge.

In reality, both wearable products among a number of others are ushering in a new wave of devices that can monitor, improve, and analyze workouts for a quarter of the price of a personal trainer. As the potential for smart wearable gadgets continues to draw new entrants into the market, it is the sports and healthcare functionality that will continue to dominate shipments, ABI Research forecasts suggest.

To learn more about Athos, head on over to their home page here.