Wearable technology is breaking through as the latest tool in sports to help Olympic athletes prepare by tracking and conducting analytics, creating augmented reality training and 3D modeling, and measuring vitals and performance to push athletes beyond their limit and prevent injuries. Wearable technology began to be widely implemented in the Olympics of Rio de Janeiro in 2016 and since then has been on the rise. The debate on just how much technology should be accepted has been heating up with new terms like technological doping being a sign of how the issue controversially affects the spirit of the Olympics.
Companies leading the global wearable sports technology market include IBM, Ericsson, Cisco, Apple, Xiaomi, Oracle, LG, Samsung, Fitbit and Huawei, among others. These companies are marketing and selling a wide array of sports technology from drones to big data analytics, artificial intelligence AI, wearable devices, video assistance coaching systems, and complex systems tailor-made for different sports clients. With the Olympics now underway in Japan, a country known for its cutting-edge innovations, a new wave of sports technology is widely in use.
As part of their Tokyo Olympics Coverage South China Morning Post reported how Olympic sports athletes are using different kinds of wearable sports technology for different goals. For example, intelligent clothing and sports gear are designed to increase performance, regulate temperature and endurance. Wearable microelectromechanical systems record and transmit big data like vital signs, positions, and movements, and more complex systems that combine wearable devices with GPS, cloud computing, slow-motion cameras, and artificial intelligence are used for coaching analytics. Then there are the Olympic cyclists using augmented reality glasses that monitor vital rates and create high fidelity simulations of the actual track that they will be cycling in Japan. Or the swimmers training using starting blocks and high-speed cameras as well as wearable tech which measures forces and movement and deciphers biomechanical patterns.
Not to mention, force-sensing resistors have been embedded into sport’s shoes, used by a wide range of Olympics sports teams, from running to volleyball, to deliver a continuous stream of data throughout the entire training sessions, from jump to sprints, and more. Shoes like Nike’s famous Vaporfly, high-tech Speedo swimsuits, Team USA’s Olympic flagbearers air-cool jackets, and medication devices like the one developed by Gopichand for the Olympic Team of India to meditate, focus and relax add to the list of latest innovations helping athletes give 100-percent during Tokyo’s Olympic games.
Inside The Tech Tools Used For Training
According to the South China Morning Post, several Olympic teams are using wearable technology. China’s Olympic athletes are working out with the assistance of the Hong Kong Sports Institute using antigravity treadmills and riding indoor training bikes heavily connected to all kinds of monitoring programs that measure stamina, intensity, and other metrics. Irish diver Oliver Dingley uses a complex video analytics system when training in the pool to constantly monitor and adjust diving style and form. The Kenya Volleyball team is among those using GPS devices, coaches use the data to prevent injury and create different training for different athletes. The Japanese baseball team is also heavily plugged into analytics and wearables. Chinese tech giant Alibaba Group and US chipmaker Intel partnered to run a 3D athlete tracking system that allows coaches to probe into every minute movement of their Olympic athletes, the system uses AI to understand biomechanics and the movement of athletes. The goal of all teams, coaches, and athletes is to push beyond sports performance to new all-time highs.
Today, simple versions of what Olympic sports athletes use can be bought online. Fitbit’s Luxe fitness tracker sells for $149.95 and the Apple Watch goes for $399. Athletes, and Olympic athletes especially, will make use of any available edge and advantage they can get their hands on to increase their performance. From how they eat, to how, when, and where they train, and what their mindset is. Given the obvious benefits that sports wearable technology has to offer, it is no surprise that its use has increased and been embraced by athletes around the world.