October was a great month for rugby fans around the world because there was the world cup in Japan (#RWC2019). Towards the end of October, it was probably great for only some of the fans but not all. But that’s how sports is. For those interested in data & statistics of the game, do check out Keith Lyon’s blogpost. In the tech world, there was the Samsung Developers Conference (#SDC19) where techies got together to share or learn about new innovations (that are built on the Samsung platform), and opportunities for developers to leverage that platform. Some of those innovations covered areas such as wearables, health, IoT, AI and blockchain. For this edition of our top 5 sports tech news, we picked out 5 stories that touched on those areas.
PLAYR is now available on Apple Watch
GPS tracking for team sports has made heaps of progress since it started. There has been an increase in data resolution from having 5Hz GPS data (or 5 data points per second) up to 20Hz recently. It used to be only available during training that real-time tracking is available to coaches but now various sporting codes allowing them to be used during competition. Also, a technology that was once only used by the elite sporting clubs, it is now much more widely used not just at semi-professional levels but also at grassroots levels.
The latest step that PLAYR (owned by Catapult Sports) made, is delivering an Apple Watch app that does similar tracking using it’s in-built GPS. By doing that, they are making their athlete tracking platform even more accessible for everyday athletes. It will allow the individual to track their performance in real-time and after each training session see their overall stats and position heat maps on the app. Compared to actual GPS trackers, there are some missing capabilities and it is also not approved for match use. But it is a great entry point to using athlete tracking technology with a $10 monthly subscription fee (quite similar to Strava’s premium plan or Summit). Find out more about the Watch app here: link.
Smart Helmet designed by Deakin researcher gives cyclists the edge
A bicycle helmet is meant to do one thing – protect the cyclist’s head from impacts and injuries. So it needs to be strong enough to withstand impacts. It should also fit the cyclist’s head pretty well and snug so it doesn’t slip off at the critical moment and not do its one thing. Then when thinking about long rides in warm weather, the helmet should be well ventilated so that the cyclist doesn’t suffer from a heat stroke. But for competitive cyclists, having a really comfortable and well ventilated helmet usually means it causes more drag or wind resistance. It is very hard to have an aerodynamically design helmet with good ventilation at the same time but both factors have a huge influence on the cyclist’s performance.
Deakin Researcher, Dr James Novak took on that challenge and designed a customisable helmet with responsive vents that can toggle between an aerodynamic mode and a cooling mode. So during down-hill descents or sprints of a critical nature, the vents close, maximising aerodynamic performance. On the other hand, during up hill climbs that are slow, the vents open up to increase airflow and prevent the cyclist from overheating. The vents are open/closed by micro servo motors and a microcontroller that’s paired with a smartphone via bluetooth, and responses according to acceleration measurements on the smartphone. Dubbed the Dynaero, the smart helmet was one of 10 finalists in the Smart Product category of Reshape19, an international wearable technology competition. Read more about its design and development story here: link, or check out the video below:
Fathom Pro uses the power of A.I. so you can run longer, recover quicker
Running is probably the most popular fitness or physical activity. For people who are able to participate in it, it has lots of health benefits and it is quite convenient – shoes on and one can run almost anywhere. But with the increase in popularity of running also brought an increase in running injuries. Previous studies have shown that 70% of recreational and competitive runners sustain overuse injuries during any 12-month period. The injuries could be at the knee, foot/ankle, lower leg or hip/pelvis.
Fathom AI is a startup that wants to help athletes prevent injuries or recover quicker. They are doing that using a combination of wearable motion sensors and adaptive algorithms (or artificial intelligence). Known as Fathom PRO, the sensor kit includes 3 IMUs – 2 to be stuck using adhesive near each ankle and 1 on the lower back. Users are meant to put on the sensors before a run and the sensors can capture data for up to 3 hours. After the workout is completed, Fathom analyses the movement data for asymmetries, compensations and fatigue. It then delivers a customised recovery plan based on sports medicine principles. Over time, Fathom also learns about the user and provides recommendations to improve movement and prevent injuries.
Orreco developed an app to help female athletes maximise training
Male and female athletes are very different. Both physically and physiologically. One thing that affects the female athlete (and not the male athlete) is the menstrual cycle. However, prior to 2016, there were very limited studies or research that considered how the menstrual cycle could influence a female athlete in terms of training capacity and performance.
Dr Georgie Bruinvel, a Sports and Research Scientist from Orreco decided to look further into this. Then, together with Grainne Conefrey, Orreco’s Product Development Manager, they developed the Fitr Woman and Fitr Coach app to help female athletes minimise injury risks and maximise training at every stage of their menstrual cycle. Users of the Fitr Woman app can log their periods, report symptoms, and track training sessions. They then receive support in terms of nutrition and training suggestions based on the time of the month. Over time, users will become better equipped to make more informed decisions about training and ultimately perform better. For athletes that are part of a team, they can give access to their coaches who can monitor their progress on the Fitr Coach app.
Read more about how the apps are helping female athletes here: “New research on the menstrual cycle and athletic performance helps women compete“. Or check out their intro video below:
Lympo partners with Samsung to get more people active
Lympo is an app that is trying to motivate people to exercise and lead healthier lives. They are doing that by allowing users to track their workouts (using the app) and rewarding them with their cryptocurrency called LYM tokens. The tokens are stored within the app or otherwise known as the Lympo digital fitness wallet. Then with the LYM tokens, users can purchase sporting goods or services from the Lympo Marketplace. Users get personalised content on the app based on the data they provide to help them with the health and fitness goals. Besides helping individuals, they have also built a crowdfunding platform to support other innovative startups in the industry with funding and access to Lympo users.
Recently, Lympo partnered with Samsung and got their LYM token listed on the Samsung blockchain wallet. This means Galaxy s10 user who have Samsung blockchain Keystore and Wallet in their smartphones can transfer LYM tokens from the Lympo app to the Samsung blockchain wallet. Further to that, Lympo and Samsung Health started a ‘Healthy Habits Month’ initiative, tracking daily activities using the Samsung gear (Samsung’s smart watch). This integration means a greater usability and ideally, allow them to help more people stay motivated and active. Find out more in this press release: link, or check out the video below that explains how Lympo works:
And that is our top five sports tech news for October 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, please do us a favour and share it around or subscribe to our blog/newsletter here: link. Thanks for reading!