iQ by Intel
I was asked by iQ by Intel to examine the morphing of sports and technology in apparel that is optimized with sports tech, here. The Sports Techie community blog is excited to share this trending topic with our global, U.S. and Seattle area readers.
Clothes that operate like wearable computers are becoming more commonplace worldwide as the sports technology industry and fashion industry merge. Athletic clothing is being designed with sports tech innovations that improve how elite athletes perform. For example, the University of Oregon Ducks’ implementation of the Nike Pro Combat System of Dress in 2011 helped optimize player performance times.
Now, researchers at Cornell are using 3D scanners to custom-fit and optimize how apparel conforms to the movement of cyclists, swimmers, and other athletes. Also, wearable products powered by OMSignal — like the Hexoskin worn by Sochi athletes — are influencing the physical monitoring and athletic clothing markets. Finally, there’s the before its time and now defunct Dow Corning Active Protection System with DEFLEXION™ technology: a soft, flexible impact protection material that flexed and moved with a body in action but immediately hardened upon impact to prevent serious bodily harm and save lives.
“Smart” fashion and shoes in 2014 come embedded with microscopic sensors and wireless networks that are changing the game for athletes, coaches and trainers.
Apparel that gathers activity or sport data and integrates with tablets is the new competitive edge in both team and solo sports. Everyday end users now have apparel options that can gather workout performance information via their clothes, shoes, and accessories using sensors embedded in the fabric. These sensors monitor and wirelessly transmit athletes’ heart rate, temperature, hydration levels, and other criteria to mobile devices such smartphones and tablets, powered by Intel.
One of the best sports innovations ever might be fast drying synthetic fibers that wick moisture away from the body. Upgrades to this material include water and wind resistant technology and anti-microbial fabric.
Who can forget when Brandi Chastain scored the big shootout goal to beat China in the 1999 Women’s World Cup and lifted off her jersey in celebration to show off her new Nike sports bra workout shirt that shocked the world and created a new fashion statement around wicking material.
Today, picture her lifting up an upgraded NIKE biometrics shirt that transmits on the TV broadcast Chastain’s heart rate, mental acuity, and even her mood, as she celebrates the epic score by herself, and then with happy U.S. teammates.
Protective Athletic Apparel
The high-speed nature of competitive sports is putting athletes in injuries’ way. Protective clothing has been designed to absorb impact but it is not form fitting, making it very limiting. New materials were created by U.K.-based d30 and Dow Corning that flex and move with a body in action but immediately harden upon impact. In addition, University of Delaware researchers have successfully embedded materials with nanoparticles that become immediately solid after a kinetic energy threshold is met. Extreme sport athletes can save life and limbs using this type of tech-boosted protective gear that’s often washable too.
There’s also a digital dressing room where you can try on high-tech gear: the Bodymetrics virtual clothing try-on with your personal 3d fashion avatar.
The OMSignal biometric shirt gathers physiological signals attained from the body and is designed for daily use. A wearer’s personalized data is filtered and then interpreted to deliver information and insights to health conscious users, trainers, and medical specialists.
OMSignal athletic clothing collects ECG, activity, and respiration rhythms. Their shirts provide physical monitoring of tension level or “emotive” moods. This feedback opens up coaching opportunities that a few years ago did not exist because this kind of big data was not being captured yet. The proprietary OMSignal wearable tech collects and analyzes data for wellness and performance enhancement for all ages and fitness levels.
OMsignal and Montreal-based biometric clothing manufacturer, Carré Technologies, ran a successful crowdfunding campaign for Hexoskin that earned $100,000 in two weeks.
Hexoskin is a smart shirt that is integrated with textile biometric sensors that connects via Bluetooth to an iPhone and iPad for the user who wants to monitor sport training, heart rate variability, and sleep habits. A user’s breathing rate, step count and cadence, their motion intensity and heart rate recovery, plus more than 3 million data points per hour are recorded.
The Dufour-Lapointe sisters wore Hexoskin and won the Sochi Olympics gold and silver medals in the Woman’s Moguls event for Canada, as did biathlete medal winners, Marc-André Bédard and Claude Godbout.
Dow Corning DEFLEXION™
DEFLEXION™ technology from Dow Corning had impact-protection technologies intended for the creation of high-performance protective apparel and equipment.
DEFLEXION™ technology focused on providing comfort, enhanced fit, and freedom of movement. Also, due to the unique stability of silicones, DEFLEXION™ technology provided performance over a broad range of temperatures. Products using DEFLEXION™ materials are able to achieve a high level of performance when cold, hot and wet, while remaining comfortable to wear.
The Perfect Wearables
While researching this piece it came to me that the leader of the Fantastic Four, Dr. Reed Richards, has a uniform that is the perfect wearable technology. It is pliable enough to stretch out to whatever length and tension his body contorts to while offering protection from sharp objects, bullets and other dangerous projectiles. It can be integrated with any performance enhancing sports tech solution or product the brilliant mind of Dr. Richard’s wants to use. Reed’s suits are made with 3D scanner tech to measure and fit his one-of-a-kind-body specs exactly.
While the human race has not yet invented the perfect wearable technology to enhance player performance, these businesses are on the right path.
Robert Roble founded Sports Techie, a sports technology community, blog and expert resource in 2010 after a once-in-a-lifetime role as Wetpaint’s Moderator. He moderated the New York Giants, Houston Rockets and HBO Entourage historical wiki and online communities, in addition to writing blogs for DWTS and MSN. Bob is a pioneer in sports tech, an untapped market valued at $200 billion. His career in sports and tech spans four decades, where he’s worked for Paul Allen and the Seattle Seahawks, Magic and Dartfish. The Sports Techie social media network is global and passionate about green, robots and animals. Engage with his blog, friend @SportsTechieNET on Twitter and Like the Facebook fan page; also follow on Google+, YouTube and LinkedIn. He is happy for the opportunity to focus his iQ by Intel eye on innovative sports technology related content, trends and products that involve Intel’s tech, people and happy customers.
Sports Techie, Thank you for being a loyal reader to the Sports Techie blogs over the past four years. Championing trends in the sports technology Industry has been a real privilege, especially the past six months as an iQ by Intel sports tech contributor. My articles have produced over 300,000 Likes on the Intel Facebook fan page and counting thanks to all of you supporters.
Wearable technologies are quickly transforming sport, fitness and exercise for the better. Sport and activity Big Data are being captured by wearable products developed by innovative sports tech startups like D3o, Hexoskin and OMsignal, respected educational Institutions such as Cornell and Delaware, and established companies such as Dow Corning. Nike, Adidas and Under Armour are other significant manufactures of performance wearables.
Sartorial Sports: Tech-Powered Apparel Optimizes Player Performance: Sports + Tech by iQ by Intel.
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