Wearable technology isn’t just about getting hands-free Google Maps beamed directly to your eye, or controlling iTunes from your watch. For over a decade, a wearable technology has helped people achieve physical fitness goals with devices that measure heart rate, speed and distance. Smartphones have pushed the field even further with apps that can collect, organize and display workout data.
MiCoach, a leading brand in the field that works with Adidas to design wearable technology for professional athletes and everyday consumers, is going a step further with something they call “textile tech.”
Wednesday afternoon at the Wearable Technology Conference in New York, miCoach showed off its most advanced technology yet -- smart soccer jerseys. Called miCoach Elite, the jerseys can allow players, trainers and coaches to get quantitative data on player performance in real time.
The jerseys are outfitted with a system of sensors and GPS trackers that can determine heart rate, distance, speed and acceleration. This data is collected by a player cell that fits into a pocket between the player’s shoulder blades and transmits to the miCoach Elite base station. The base station synthesizes the data and compiles it into categories like power, relative power, training impact and player efficiency. The data is also relayed to an iPad app so coaches and trainers can examine in real time, and uploaded to the cloud to examine later.
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The player cells can hold a charge for 8 hours in case a team needs to travel or does a double practice. At the end of practice, the player cells plug to charge, download data, and upload information from trainers or coaches.
The idea is to make sports, especially training exercises, smarter.
“The days of long-distance, gut-wrenching, sick inducing training sessions are long gone as we land the miCoach Elite System,” Adidas wrote in a blog post. “Simply by monitoring his iPad, a coach can now fully understand the physical impact on the body, including work rate, stamina, speed, distance, performance efficiency and, for the first time, power of every player, in every position.”
In 2013, every team in U.S. Major League Soccer adopted the miCoach elite system and are starting to use it during games. As the functionality expands, miCoach is hoping to use the technology to incorporate fan engagement.
Chelsea FC, one of the most popular soccer clubs in the world, recently adopted the technology, but FIFA rules forbid the technology to be used during games.
At the Wearable Technology Conference, miCoach said they are looking to expand to other sports, but some of the technology, such as GPS, prevents miCoach Elite from functioning with indoor sports like basketball. It also hopes to bring miCoach Elite to amateur sports teams.