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Top 5 Sports Tech News – Feb 2020

February, even though being the shortest month of the year, has no short of interesting sports tech developments for us to discover. From massive engineering innovations to crowdfunding projects and a pretty large scale accelerator for sports startups. It does not disappoint.

The year of Twenty Twenty being a leap year gave us 29 days in February – one more day than our usual Februaries. Still, it is 1 day less compared to four other months in a year and 2 days less compared to the other seven months. For those who were ever curious why the calendar came to be like that, check out this article about the history of February.

Of course we are not here to just talk about the month but the interesting sports tech stuff we came across in the month of February! So very quickly for our top 5 this last month: we have a swimming wearable tracker that tracks forces, an engineering marvel that brings us inland surfing, a compression wear with inbuilt silicone sports tape, a sensor (actually two) that helps track weight-lifting form and a new global accelerator for sports tech startups. Here we go!

SmartPaddle Is Tracking Forces In Each Swim Stroke Cycle

Trainesense is a tech company in Finland that started as a spin-off from Finnish Institute of Technology (VTT). They built a wearable swimming sensor called the SmartPaddle and it is based on the technology and patent that was developed within VTT. The sensors, which are worn on a swimmer’s left and right palms can measure forces (pressure), acceleration, and speed from each swim stroke. Why is this important? Being able to analyse a swimmers stroke under water has always been a challenge. Cameras can be stuck underwater to look at a swimmers technique and angles, while IMUs can be placed on a swimmers hands or arms to measure acceleration and velocity and more angles. But being able to measure forces on each palm will tell the coach how ‘hard’ the swimmer was pulling and at which point of the stroke was peak force and whether it made the stroke effective/efficient or not. You can find out more about the product in their intro video: link or check out what this coach has to say in the video below:

Urbnsurf Sets Up 1st Wavegarden Cove In Southern Hemisphere

You can call it a wave pool or a surf park but the idea is the same – surfing inland in a confined water body with artificially generated waves. If you google wave pool or surf park, you might find a bunch of different surf parks around the world using different technologies in wave generation (some if not most of them have some patented technology). Wavegarden is one of those who has patented their wave generation technologies. They started off with the “Lagoon Technology” and in the recent years developed the “Cove Technology” which can create waves more efficiently. The signature of the Cove design is an inverted diamond shaped facility with waves moving towards the central pier.

Cove design

The technology is modular, meaning the number of “wave generators” can be adjusted and fitted according to the size of the facility. The wave generating system is controlled by software which allows it to control the size, shape, power and frequency of the waves. This means different waves can be generated to cater to different user groups (age, surf capabilities, number of surfers etc). Currently, there are less than a handful of Wavegardens in the world with most of them built in Europe. But the first one in the southern hemisphere is going to be in Melbourne! Urbnsurf is the company that licensed the Wavegarden technology in Australia and they have set up the first location in Melbourne (Tullamarine) with a second location under construction in Sydney. You can read more about their development here: link, or check out this video about Urbnsurf below:

WaveWear Is Embedding Sports Taping In Performance Wear

Wave Company has recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to crowdfund their latest product – WaveWear, which is a combination of compression performance wear and kinesiology taping. Their motivation behind this design: to simplify kinesiology taping which can be a tedious and somewhat complicated task. By having the tape embedded into compression wear, all an athlete needs to do is put on the compression top or pants and the ‘taping’ is done.

WaveWear on Kickstarter

The key to their design is what they call Bio-Waved-Adhesive-Silicone (BWAS). The Adhesive Silicone built into the garment is mapped according to how you would tape various joints. They claim to have 80% adhesiveness of kinesiology tape, is safe on skin, is breathable and its adhesion remains after washing. WaveWear’s reusability means reduce wastage from single use tape. The main areas that WaveWear’s tape support are the shoulders, back, thighs, knees and calves. Find out more in this press release: link; or check out their Kickstarter video:

Calibrex Wants to Track Velocity & Form Of Your Barbell Lifts

Source: Calibrex Indiegogo

The technology products being developed for the strength training space seems to be continually growing. Calibrex and their X1 device(s) is one of the recent ones that entered the market. Quite similar to a number of other products in the market, they aim to track velocity of the barbell, counts reps and sets, and help with managing rest time. One other feature they have is tracking form or balance and providing real-time feedback.

Ultrasound sensor

The tracking mechanism relies on ultrasound sensors to measure distance between the barbell and the ground. There are 2 sensors, one attached to each end of a barbell (using magnets). When attached, the device swivels in such a way that the ultrasound sensor is always pointing to the ground due to gravity. So during lifting, if the athlete’s form is good and the barbell is horizontal throughout the lift, the distance measured should be the same for both sensors. When there is imbalance or poor form, there will be a tilt and the sensors will call it out. They explain it better here in this video. Calibrex is currently crowdfunding on Indiegogo – link. You can also check out their video below:

Comcast NBCUniversal Launches Sports Technology Accelerator

Comcast NBCUniversal recently announced the launch of SportsTech, a global accelerator for sports technology startups. This accelerator program will be supported by a partnership of six sports brands/organisations including NBC Sports, Sky Sports, Golf Channel, NASCAR, U.S. Ski & Snowboard and USA Swimming. These partners will be setting the direction and priorities of the program and they will also be assisting the startups with strategic industry connections, mentoring and partnership opportunities. SportsTech is going to be a three month program starting in August 2020 and based in The Battery Atlanta/SunTrust Park. They are looking for up to 10 startups and the 8 focus areas for this accelerator program include:

  • Fan/Player Engagement //
  • Athlete/Player Performance //
  • Media & Entertainment //
  • Venue & Event Innovation //
  • Team & Coach Success //
  • Business Of Sports //
  • Fantasy Sports & Betting //
  • Esports //

For those interested in applying, the deadline is 15 May 2020 and there are more details about SportsTech on their website here: link. You can also check out their promo video below.

And that is our top five sports tech news for February 2020. If you would like more information about any of the above, feel free to contact us or leave a comment below. If you enjoy our content, please do us a favour and share it around or subscribe to our blog/newsletter here: link. Thanks for reading!

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