It seems that sports have been married to technology since long ago. To begin with, it focused on manufacturing quality sports accessories that could enhance on-field sporting activities. Better quality balls for sports like basketball, volleyball, hockey and cricket, improved baseball bats, cricket bats, tennis rackets, hockey sticks, golf sticks and other similar items that have uplifted the quality of sports by allowing sportsmen to perform better by using accessories that are made of superior technology.
Realizing the impact of technology on sports, its use was gradually extended to sports administration, particularly in assisting umpires and referees to take decisions about some close calls that were always subject to human errors. Such errors often proved very costly for some sportsmen who were at the receiving ends. Such unintended injustice did affect the quality of sports. Thus came into being the Hawk-Eye technology that is used in tennis that ensures that the human judgment is supplemented by it to take the right call. Similarly, the goal line technology that is used in football and soccer is a welcome move to ensure that decisions are fair and correct. But nowadays, Wearable Tech has entered the playing to enhance the level physical fitness of anyone leading an active life.
The introduction of high-tech gadgets
Sports technology has come a long way. Now sportsmen can monitor and analyze data related to their fitness, training, and nutrition with the use of modern gadgets. This helps them keep an eye on their body’s performance during physical exertion. Yes, we are talking about wearable gadgets and sportswear that are empowered by advanced technology, and they allow monitoring the behavior of the body under various stressful conditions when it is in motion. The information can be very useful for bringing changes to the techniques that would help athletes perform better.
The game changers
Sportswear companies are proving to be game changers. There are some leading names in sportswear that have impacted the sporting arena by introducing gadgets that are products of their long time research and development. From shoes to clothes, technology has been infused into everything that is used by athletes. Nike, the reputable brand that has become a part of the athletic world attaches so much importance to the subject that it has appointed a Chief Digital Officer to maintain its dominance in this domain. Their latest offerings for the upcoming summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro needs special mention, although there are few more gadgets that also have to be included in the list to give a bigger picture of the digital leap taken by sportswear companies.
Come June 2016 and sportsmen would get a step closer in procuring Nike products by using the Nike+ app that is going to be launched at that time. And what could be more delighting than buying a pair of Hyper Adapt 1.0 shoes that would only be available for buyers using the app! These state of the art power-lacing shoes have a plain and simple look, which makes it difficult to distinguish its specialty from any other sneaker. But it is a product that is backed by ten long years of research, patented by Nike.
The shoes are powered by batteries and a full charge of three hours can last for two weeks. LED indicators at the back indicate battery life. Soles shine blue when the battery is fully charged, and turns red when it is time to charge. These self-fitting and self-lacing shoes automatically tighten to the optimum level by using sensors that are embedded in the heels. The operation is carried out by tiny motors placed inside the shoes that are connected by cables. Two buttons on the outside allow tightening and loosening as per personal preference.
Jerseys for track and field events, and uniforms for soccer and basketball, have been introduced afresh by Nike ahead of the summer Olympics in Rio with the assurance that it will be more comfortable to wear in Brazilian climatic conditions. The soccer uniforms are made from a special quality thread that will dry 25% faster, and its sweat removal capacity will be 20% more than the previous edition. Named Vapor jerseys, this uniform has 50% more stretchability and is lighter by 10%. The same benefits are incorporated in the track and field jerseys, and an exclusive technology AeroSwift has been used to reduce wind and air drag on the wearer. The basketball uniforms have been made more breathable by 35%.
Compression shirts and pants by Heddoko have embedded sensors that track the movements of body joints. By capturing the body movements and converting the data into 3D models that are displayed on smartphones, feedback is given to athletes who can use the data to improve their techniques and avoid getting injured.
This device can be worn on the body at any preferred position for the purpose of motion tracking. Manufactured by Notch Interface USA, this wireless device is capable of sensing motion and generating data related to it that is streamed into smartphones in the form of 3D modules, by using the Bluetooth technology. The data can be interpreted using the Notch libraries that make use of the user’s bio-mechanics.
Athletes are often in need of relaxing muscles and soft tissues that get stressed and need quick recovery. The Myovolt wearable pad is a device that generates vibrations that can be directed to the joints, soft tissue and muscle to provide a number of physiological benefits. This electronic gadget can be used to the advantage of athletes who want on the spot relief from muscle fatigue and similar problems.
Looking to the future, more and more companies are aggressively entering the space of wearable technological gadgets as sports get more dependent on digital technology. In the coming years, we can expect to see far more advanced devices, designed primarily to help athletes reach their full physical potential.