Welcome to the July edition of Top 5 Sports Tech News. In case you are new to it, this is currently our monthly staple where we try to bring out fresh/exciting developments and innovations from the sports tech world. This month, we have got a story of how the Apple Watch is being integrated into Australian Cricket at the elite level. There’s news of patent application from Under Armour. Then there’s more announcements of partnerships in the sport of basketball (think NBA). Finally, we feature a startup that’s using a 3D camera to help athletes monitor their strength training in the gym.
Apple Watch used to improve Cricket players’ performance
Apple Watch definitely isn’t the first smart watch that appeared on the market. But after it came out, it definitely did convert more people to wearing watches again. With each new version, they added a bit more features to it that made it more sport friendly and more sports app developer friendly. The Australian Institute of Sport developed an activity monitoring app (with a Watch app) for the Australian Women’s Cricket team to help optimise team training, reduce injury risk and improve performance. The Apple Watch can monitor metrics such as heart rate, training load, overall activity and sleep data (if they wear it to sleep). These plus other data shared by the players, enables the coaching and high performance staff to plan and make better decisions for the team. From their recent victory at the Ashes, it looks their some good decisions were made. Read more in this article (link) or check our the team’s victory song in the dressing room:
Under Armour patents shoes that can provide active recovery
Under Armour seems to be on a mission to delivery better recovery for athletes. It was just a couple of months back when we featured Under Armour and their recovery garment with infrared technology. This time they are back with some new innovation that could mean a “smarter” shoe. A recent patent application of UA, titled “System and method for controlling active recovery based on detected parameter“, shows a shoe that is able to respond based on blood pressure measurements when worn by a user. Blood pressure measurements could be acheived with the shoe or an additional wearable device that also communicates with the shoe. The measurement signal can then trigger a force actuating mechanism in the sole that is able to provide a force to the bottom of a wearer’s foot. This is supposed to aid blood flow and provides a form of active recovery. Feel free to check out the patent link above or read more in this article: Under Armour seeks patent for shoes that can read your blood pressure.
Catapult + Shot Tracker = Tactical + Performance analytics
We mention Catapult quite a fair bit in our blog, including the previous #top5sportstechnews. They are just making a lot of progress in the team sports world and mostly in the various football codes. This time, it’s in professional basketball. ShotTracker on the other hand, has always been about basketball. They started out with a wrist sensor that tracks a user’s shooting and a hoop sensor that detects when a shot is made. They moved on after a while and developed an oncourt real-time athlete tracking system. This partnership will see the integration of ShotTracker’s real-time data with Catapult’s video analysis platform (Catapult Vision). Find out more on Catapult’s blog: link.
Home Court is now an official partner of the NBA
Home Court is an iPhone basketball training app that helps players keep track of their training. There are no wearables involved in the tracking, just the iPhone camera and computer vision algorithms. The group that built this app (NEX Team Inc) started with tracking shots. It counts the number of attempts and makes and tracks where they were on a court [Do check out our review of the app if you haven’t]. Then they added ball handling workouts, challenges, agility training, and shooting drills. All the training and progress made by the individual player is stored on their iPhone. They can choose to keep it (their stats) private or share it only with teammates or make it public. Now that NBA has partnered up with HomeCourt, it means there is the opportunity for NBA to easily identify talents within the HomeCourt platform. Shortly after the partnership was announced, HomeCourt released new drills and contests that were developed together with NBA to help develop players of all levels. Apart from talent identification, there is also the opportunity to increase fan engagement with basketball fans from around the world. Read more on NBA’s official release: link. Also, do check out HomeCourt’s short film about it:
Perch is trying to optimise strength training & reduce injuries
Perch is a startup that has built a 3D camera tracking platform to quantify strength training. The founders of Perch recognise that to do strength training properly, correct form and technique is crucial. But one don’t always have a coach or training partner to point out poor form. The mirror also only reflects a 2D view back the athlete. With Perch’s 3D camera that is mounted on a weights rack, it tracks the movement of the bar in 3D, measures key metrics of each rep and also identifies incorrect lifting. One feature of their system is velocity based training (VBT) which is using velocity measurement as a form of benchmarking progress or performance. Currently, (apart from Perch) the methods to do velocity measurements are either using a tethered tool (e.g. GymAware) or IMUs (e.g. Output Sports). So Perch differentiates themselves by having no wearables or sensors or wires attached to the athlete or bar. At the moment, they are focused on the elite athlete market and subsequently, they are hoping to diversify into the wider gym market to grow the “smart gym” category. Read more about it here: link. Also, have a look at their promo video:
And that is our top five sports tech news for July 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!