by Spela Kosir

January 22, 2015

Will Wearable Tech be the Decisive Factor in Super Bowl XLIX?

Yes! It is time for Super Bowl, the highly anticipated event that will determine the champion of NFL 2015.
American football is one of the most dangerous sports in fact it has more casualties every year than any other team sport. Players quite often receive a severe blow to the head which in the worst case can lead to the Second Impact Syndrom a condition which is often fatal, and almost everyone who is not killed is severely disabled.

Although wearable tech cannot prevent the impact on the body, it can detect impacts to the head during a game and with the right medical treatment, further damage can be avoided. But as you will find out in this article this product category is not the only one available for football players.

X Patch is an impact sensing skin patch, placed behind the users ear that is able to wirelessly transmit information to those on the sidelines once an impact is detected. By providing sport sideline concussion assessment tools, the system supports improved outcomes of player’s brain health in line with the existing standard of medical care. It can be used for different sports, no matter what sporting gear.

We reported about former WTconference speaker mc10 and their partnership with Reebok before. Jointly both companies developed CheckLight, a head-impact indicator, fitted into a mesh cap. It is meant to indicate when the device has received an impact above a certain threshold, however It is not intended to indicate, prevent, diagnose or treat concussions. It senses when the wearer has experienced a major blow to the head with a yellow light to signal a “moderate” impact and red light to indicate a “severe” one. Simple visual indication make it easy to understand and to react in emergency situtations.

Mouthguards belong to the normal set of items a football player wears and therefore they are a great device to include sensor technology. The company i1 Biometrics that exhibited with us at our conference in San Francisco developed for example the Vector Mouthguard. Its sensors are embedded inside protective dental device and can measure the location and level of any given impact and store all the athlet´s information throughout his career. Data is transmitted to a laptop at the sideline and stored on a secure internet database.

Another device is called Fitguard and also built into a mouth piece. The smart mouthguard can measure acceleration and detects an impacts. It uses green, blue, or red LED indication to signal a low, medium, or high force impact. The data is additionally transferred to the FITguard mobile application for analysis and recording.

But safety is not all that counts. It’s all about winning the match. Wearable tech can help here, too. Already well known among many sport teams, Viper Pod is a GPS system, collecting data on players’ performance. Specifically it tracks the player’s speed, distance covered, acceleration, position and several other factors. It streams the data in real-time through the Viper Live Streaming software, as well as logging all data for post-session downloads.

Catapult is a company which developed a monitor embedded insight a vest, measuring acceleration, top speed, total distance and many other variables. Although there are many of its kind out there, they have upgraded there systems by using Clear Sky, a wireless local positions system which allows them to gather even more accurate data.

And there’s GP Sport who have developed performance monitoring devices, which incorporate advanced GPS tracking with heart rate and accelerometer monitoring. The company claims it offers the smallest device on the market.

Gametraka is a web-based software solution for amateur athletes. 5hz tracking GPS, allows tracking that is uploaded to a web-based software solution. That means even you and me can Improve with the help of wearable tech.
May the best team win on February 1! They say it’s wearable tech that made the German National Soccer team win the World Cup last summer – let’s find out if this will also be true for American Football.