Make no mistake, health and wearable devices are utterly transforming sports. So I've put together five solutions that suggest just how important Apple's HealthKit is going to become.
iPunch combat gloves
Last week I wrote on the topic of how Apple's future wearable devices in conjunction with the Mac-only Sportscode system will transform sport. I'm convinced I'm on the right track now after looking at the latest Indiegogo project, iPunch. These are a set of sensor-laden boxing gloves that work with your iOS (or Android) device that monitor things like speed, strength and fighting style. The app then gives boxers information to help improve their fighting technique. There's another implication -- the developers at Responsive Sports have also built games around the gloves; in one implementation, the trainer gives audible instructions and you have to punch as you are told -- see it as Guitar Hero meets boxing. And I think Dr. Dre would make these things look very cool.
More than the average fitness app, Raw Potential uses your smartphone camera to watch you when you're pressing weights, offering up instant visual feedback of what you do. Sounds stupid? It's not really; it's the technological equivalent of a personal trainer advising you on body posture while you go through your workout, which helps you exercise more effectively, and, perhaps more important, a little more safely. You don't want to do yourself an injury. In a little more depth, the software compares your technique to its own built-in "fitness avatar." This should be great for people who happen to be perfectly fit, but in the future it will be good when apps like this and those that follow can alter their pre-programmed ideal patterns to take into account people's existing physical weaknesses (bad backs, legs, etc.) in order to help find relevant exercise forms.
The Reebok Checklight is a head impact indicator designed to capture head impact during play while being more or less invisible to the athlete. That's clever because those sporty types often aren't aware of when they've had a big bash to the cranium and don’t take action soon enough. And while this isn't yet a smartphone-savvy solution, it's pretty clear that's only a gentle step away. This solution could save some lives -- and you can even buy it now.
Athos smart shirts (and shorts)
Wearable technology isn't confined to a bevy of identical watches equipped with identical features introduced in a blaze of passing glory at Google I/O: wearables can also mean clothes, and Athos is developing the sports clothes for tomorrow. Available now, the Athos shirt carries 16 sensors to measure specific muscles effort, heart and breathing rates. You can wash it (of course), and yes -- it works with your iPhone to give you a complete breakdown of your workout, including an in-depth view of how hard you worked various parts of your post-workout-tingling anatomy. More here.
I'll end with a note about Catapult's widely used but little discussed GPS solutions for sport. These things combine a host of sensors to monitor an athlete's fitness, movement and much, much more. You can even pool team data to see who is tiring and when they are capable of performing at their best. These solutions are the product of huge research, and, like all wearables in the connected age, are becoming smaller, tougher and more robust. Expect wearable devices (just like the smartphones) to eventually fade into the background even as the data they deliver goes front and center.
Sports are changing. Are you a match fit?
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