Welcome to the third edition of #top5sportstechnews for 2019! For this edition, instead of just talking about the latest and greatest that happened, we are going to highlight a good mix of innovations that we are itching to share. From a motion analysis product that is already in the market, to a fitness product that is launched not too long ago, to a couple of wearable sensor products that are about to launch this year and finally a website that is comparing a bunch of sports tech products within the same category. All good stuff. Without further ado, here’s our top 5 sports tech news for March/April.
MotionMetrix’s 3D markerless gait analysis
MotionMetrix is a system that is capable of doing a complete running analysis and biomechanical profile of an athlete in less than a minute. Their technology consists mainly of two Kinect depth cameras that need to be setup on each side of a treadmill where the run analysis is going to take place. The Kinects are able to do pose estimations of a runner, identify the joints and track them in 3D without markers. It has been known that a single Kinect has it’s limitations in accuracy; and although two Kinects could improve accuracy, it does come with certain challenges which MotionMetrix has done well in overcoming. It reminded me of another company (iPi Soft) that developed software to support multiple depth cameras. Anyway, what is also amazing about MotionMetrix is the amount of analysis that can be achieved after tracking a 60 seconds run on a treadmill – from running economy, to speed capacity, joint loading, stride parameters and more. Check out the video below to see it in action.
Mirror – an interactive workout companion
The Mirror was designed for people who have no time to travel to the gym but still would like to workout with a class or with a personal trainer. The concept is not entirely new. Aerobic or fitness DVDs were aimed at that same group of people. Then there were gaming consoles that had fitness or sports games that also allowed users to have a workout while having fun. There was the Nintendo Wii and Kinect (or Xbox 360). But Mirror has taken it to another level. Mirror has kind of combined the fitness DVDs and technology making your home workouts personal, connected, interactive and trackable at the same time. Users have access to personal trainers on the Mirror platform who provides real-time instructions or they can join live workout classes and exercise with friends. Using a heart rate monitor or Apple watch tracks how hard a user is training and that data is used by the system to keep track of a user’s progress. It has been compared to Peloton and their stationary bike and treadmill. One thing Mirror has going for them is their sleek design and how it doesn’t take up much space in the home. You can read more in this review or check out their video below to get a glimpse of how it works.
Instabeat launches their next gen sensor for swimmers
Almost 6 years ago (back in 2013), Instabeat appeared with the first heads up display that monitors a swimmer’s heart rate. They did a campaign on Indiegogo and successfully launched. We also had a conversation with their founder and back then and did an article that mentioned them. Fast forward to 2019, they have continued to work on a newer and improved design that is universal and fits more people. You might be wondering what is the big deal with monitoring heart rate or why is a heads up display even necessary. The thing is, normal heart rate chest straps don’t work very well when under water and worse when the swimmer’s torso is stretching and rotating with every stroke. Then when a swimmer is doing laps, he/she probably don’t want to stop between laps and count their heart rate. Instabeat’s design addresses those 2 issues. It measures heart rate from a swimmer’s temporal artery and provides real-time visual feedback all on the goggles. The newer version also tracks other swim metrics like stroke type, lap time pace and distance. All that data is then synced to a user’s smart phone so that they can keep track of their performace. They are on pre-order now and will be shipping in July. For more information, check out their website here: link or hear what some users had to say about their experience using it in the video below.
Output Sports wants to give strength & conditioning coaches a better tool
Output Sports is a startup that is developing a platform to quantify strength & conditioning training using wearable sensors. The team at Output Sports have found that existing tools for measuring athletic performance are too specialised (only does one thing), are expensive and bulky or not easy to setup. On the other hand, wearable sensors (IMUs) are portable, easy to put on an athlete and flexible enough to measure different movements or perform different evaluations. The only concern is that of accuracy and validity. So the team has worked hard on the algorithms for signal processing to ensure that the data is comparable to existing measurement tools. They also continue to test their platform with coaches and sports scientists to gather feedback and refine the platform’s usability. From the looks of it, Output Sports’ solution is gaining some attention and they have recently pitched at the 13th MIT sports analytics conference which is kind of a big thing. In case this is the first time you have heard of them, have a listen to their story in the video below.
CompareSportsTech is now comparing force platforms
CompareSportsTech is founded by Fabio Serpiello who is an academic and sports scientist who is passionate about technology. He found that when it comes to purchasing technology for the sports lab, it is a very difficult process because very few people know what else is out there in the market, what the difference is between the different products and if the technology products do exactly what is needed. Conversations with other sports scientists and analysts and coaches led him to realise it is a common problem. Thus CompareSportsTech was born. The mission of CompareSportsTech is to gather all the important information about the different technology products in the market in one spot, and allow sports scientists/analysts/coaches to review them and make better decisions. The first category that was compared was Athlete Tracking Systems which consists of GPS and LPS (local positioning systems) tracking systems. This is their biggest category with 18 different products. There are a few other categories including linear position transducers and assisted/resisted sprinting devices. But a recent category that was added is force plates or platforms. There is a lot of technical information which is useful but it can be slightly daunting as well. Then again I reckon it is better to go through the headache of filtering & selecting than to have the headache of getting a technology product that doesn’t do exactly what you need (and its worse when the products cost so much). At least you are filtering it on one website.
And that is our top five sports tech news for Mar/April 2019. If you would like more information about any of the above, feel free to contact us or leave a comment below. If you like what you read, do subscribe to our blog/newsletter here: link. With that, thanks for reading!