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High tech footballs to internet-connected gumshields: O2 Gurus investigate smart sports gadgets
Sport and smart technology is a match made in heaven if the recent rise in wearable fitness tech is anything to go by. We take a look at some of the latest smart sports tech.
The sport world has been quick to adopt smart technology through wearable tech. The explosion in popularity of fitness gadgets like Jawbone and FitBit that track your progress towards getting fit have made data collection actually interesting. Sport, with its passion for stats and cool new insights into the games we love, naturally lends itself to smart technology. One smart sporting gadget that we managed to get our hands on at the Tech Tavern was the Adidas miCoach Smart Ball.
This super smart football uses accelerometers and other sensors to track the speed, spin, flight path of the ball when it’s kicked and can even tell you how hard you kicked it. This information is then sent over the internet from the ball to your smarphone where it is stored, giving you individual goals to improve your technique.
Perhaps the most exciting thing about the miCoach is that it complies with all official regulations on football size and weight so it may not be long before we see another dimension to the beautiful game brought to us through television coverage.
We went feet-on with the miCoach Smart Ball in the latest episode of Fast Forward on O2 Guru TV so to see the ball in action, check out the video below.
World Cup fever may be in full swing but it’s not just football that’s getting the high-tech treatment. Developers in all sports are falling over themselves to create smart gadgets to help amateurs and professionals improve their game.
Game Golf is a gadget to help (you guessed it) golfers improve their technique. Using smart NFC tags, the product tracks the distance your shot traveled and which club you used then sends this data, via the could, to a dedicated smartphone or tablet app.
Smart technology isn’t just making sport more interesting, however, it’s also making it safer. The Mamori Gumshield is designed to monitor players’ vital statisitcs for a number of contact sports like rugby, hockey and American football, and can detect head trauma in real time. If a player is involved in a potentially dangerous impact this information can be sent to medical staff on the touchline who can act quickly to prevent injuries from getting any worse. Meanwhile, Adidas’ miCoach Elite system can track the vital signs of a whole team using wearable sensors that can quickly detect fatigue and exhaustion, thereby help prevent injuries. The system is already in use by a number of elite football clubs like AC Milan and Chelsea.
The danger of smart technology is that it could start to interfere with sport too much. At the moment technology is enhancing our enjoyment of sport, but that may not always be the case in the future. Regulatory bodies have been fighting against performance-enhancing drugs for years: could performance-enhancing tech be the next battleground? Only time will tell.
For more on how to use tech to keep up to date with the action in Brazil, check out the O2 Gurus run down of the best apps for following the football.
Do you want to see more technology in sport? What’s your dream sport gadget? Let us know in the comments.