The general purpose of wearable technology is to produce data and analyze it while the wearer is performing some kind of action, be it working, jogging, or sleeping. Typically, a wearable tech solution includes a device with a sensor, a cloud, and a user-facing app. The device generates relevant chunks of data and sends them to the cloud which acts as data storage. This data is then transformed into insights that the user app visualizes.
The devices may take many forms, from common smartwatches and fitness trackers to more advanced rarities embedded in fabric or accessories or tattooed directly onto the skin.
Examples of wearable technology in sports
Arguably, no other industry benefits more from wearable tech than the sports industry. With the help of advanced sensors, athletes and their coaches can get data on everything from heart rate to acceleration and use this information to create better training plans, find weaknesses in their sports performance, and monitor their progress toward their fitness objectives.
The examples of wearable technology in sports are plentiful. Heart rate monitors track breathing and pulse patterns. Gyroscopes and accelerometers track location, rotation, speed, and other crucial parameters for American football pitchers, quarterbacks, and other positions. GPS, which we described as one of the pillars of sports tech, tracks distance and velocity parameters for cyclists and runners. Sleep monitors aid athletes in recovering and customizing their sleeping patterns.
As a more sophisticated use case, athletes can even participate in VR training sessions on their TVs - all they need to do is place sensors in their room and on their feet.
How wearable technology is changing sports
Sports wearable devices didn’t only change how individuals approach their training, they changed the whole industry. We’ve already talked about how IoT reshapes the fitness industry, but competitive sports is another story altogether. Today's referees across many sports and competitions use wearable technology to make better informed decisions. In association football, goal-line technology and video assistant referee (VAR) aid officials in making the right calls and maintaining control of the game. For instance, in situations where it's impossible to tell with the naked eye if a ball crossed the goal line, sensors and smartwatches are used to confirm the situation.
Sensors can offer vital information on an athlete's performance even during the game. A player's speed, distance traveled, and acceleration can all be tracked in real time using RFID chips or GPS trackers sewed into their kits. This data can be used by coaches to make important in-game decisions. For example, if a coach sees that a player traveled a lot, they may consider making a substitution. And after the game, the data is used to analyze the match not only by coaches, but also by fans and pundits on television.
Finally, with wearable technology in sports, early indications of soft tissue damage can be quickly identified, allowing coaches to tweak athletes’ training programs. Potential concussions, brain trauma, overexertion, torn muscles and ligaments can all be foreseen with the help of impact monitor stickers.
Benefits of wearable technology in sports
Some of the major benefits that one can get from using sports wearable devices are as follows:
- Improved Performance - naturally, the devices themselves will not grow muscles for you, but they will provide you with a lot of invaluable data that you can monitor overtime and adjust your training for better effect;
- Improved Coaching - if you are a coach, you can utilize wearable tech to come up with most advanced training programs and become a top level professional;
- Improved Health - keeping track of your vitals such as heart rate or sleeping patterns will help you understand your body and its needs better, leading to a healthier lifestyle;
- Lower Injury Risk - a number of wearable devices can track such metrics as tissue damage, allowing sportspeople to take preventive measures and not get injured as a result of a training overload;
- Community Access - software paired with wearable devices often also allows you to connect with other users; you can find someone near you to do training together, compare each other’s metrics and compete with each other.
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Cogniteq’s experience in wearable tech for sports
Our team has leveraged wearable technology to benefit sportspeople on more than one occasion. For instance, we’ve developed a power metering app for cyclists for TeamZWATT.
Power meters are devices that measure the rider's power output in watts (W). This information is vital for both professional and recreational cyclists, as it helps with performance monitoring. TeamZWATT already collaborated with top bicycle manufacturers and brands, supplying their bikes with power meters; and they wanted to develop their own app for gathering and analyzing sensor data.
They’d already had an Android app, but it needed much improvement. Our team was asked to develop two different apps for Android, using the existing app as a core. One app was purely for the TeamZWATT brand, whilst the other was created for their business partner who would be selling products to a different client base. App user interface and functionally also varied. On top of that, we created another pair of apps for iOs, replicating the ones for Android.
One more example of our team’s wearable tech expertise would be an IoT app for horse monitoring - StepUp Horse.
We were asked to build an Android app to pair with a wearable device planted on racehorses' thorax. The device tracked such racehorse’s vitals as respiration and heart rate as well as distance traveled and speed during training sessions.
We created a feature-rich IoT-powered app that enabled owners and trainers to access training records and data statistics on their smartphones and track data in real-time via a smartwatch. To update wearables' firmware, the app uses the Nordic Semiconductor DFU library. It establishes a Bluetooth connection with each device, determines the firmware version, downloads the most recent version that is currently accessible, and starts the update procedure.
Wearable technology in sports has massively boosted the development of both individual sportspeople and the sports industry in general. From monitoring basic vitals such as heart rate to predicting tissue damage risks, wearable tech has a lot to offer to casuals and professionals alike. Devices improve athletic performance, coaching techniques, health conditions, and enable sportspeople to connect with like-minded individuals. And if you are thinking of integrating an app to make the most out of your data, get in touch with a team of professionals like Cogniteq.
Why is wearable technology important in the sports industry?
With sports wearable devices, athletes and their coaches can receive a lot of data on everything from heart rate to acceleration and utilize it to come up with more efficient training plans, identify their weaknesses, and track their progress toward their fitness goals.
How does wearable technology improve performance?
Wearable tech improves sports performance by giving you critical data that you can track overtime and tweak your training programs for better effect. Also, monitoring your vitals such as heart rate or sleeping patterns will help you better understand your body.