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Wearable Technology | New devices | For athletesLeft: the sports category winner in the Wearable Technologies World Cup. Right: clothing that stimulate muscles was the clothing winner in the World Cup.
March 2016

New wearable technologies

delight athletes

Electronic fitness trackers have almost become essential training equipment. But, the innovative world of wearable technologies are constantly introducing new inventions to astound and delight athletes

Fitness devices will dominate the Wearable Technology market until 2018, reports the Juniper Research company, which surveys and tracks consumer behaviour trends. They expect fitness devices to remain the primary wearables until the end of 2019, when they will be used by approximately 110-m people.

Although smartwatches are expected to become less popular over the next three years, it will be used by more than 130-m people by the end of the same period.

Juniper Research’s Consumer Wearables Market Survey incidicates that fitness devices are popular because they are cheaper than smartwatches and have more obvious uses than the smartwatches currently available on the market.

The use of wearable fitness devices are becoming most prominent in sports, where they are becoming part of athletes’ regular training regimes. Juniper Research believes that the use of performance measuring devices will grow to the extent where it will become a standard part of hiring practices and even form part of players’ contractual obligations.

Category lines are becoming more and more blurred between smartphones and fitness wearables, which are now becoming capable of handling calls and performing other notification functions that used to only be associated with smartwatches, according to another report by Juniper Research: Future Health & Fitness Wearables: Business Models, Forecasts & Vendor Share 2016-2020 highlights the fact. App-enables fitness trackers also make the lines less visible.

Interesting new products

The products that won categories at the 2016 Wearable Technologies Innovation World Cup showed just what these innovative electronic devices are capable of. The winners were announced at the Wearable Technologies Conference held to coincide with ISPO Munich in January this year.

The sports category winner, Run Up by Gait Up from Switzerland, is an advanced, high level, motion analyser. It analyses running mechanics in all environments to help athletes at all levels reach their peak performance. It also provides trainers and therapists with historic trends, which can help give injury warnings.

The Antelope Series clothing range by Antelope Club (Germany) won the Smart Clothing cup. This performance enhancing sportswear uses electro muscle stimulation (EMS) technology to strengthen the athlete’s muscle contraction, providing a more intense and effective workout. The compression textile with integrated electrodes is controlled by a smartphone-sized control unit and an app — creating a complete gym workout.

The other sports finalists are:

  • FIT Guard by Force Impact Technologies aims to solve the problem of athletes returning to play when there is a high probability they have a head injury. The mouthguard visually displays the force of an impact and lights up in a certain colour if the force is higher than a set threshold.
  • Hykso wireless wrist sensors (Canada) are equipped with custom-built algorithms that are able to recognize the type of punch being thrown and the velocity of that punch, helping boxers to improve their performance.
  • TUNE by Kinematix (Portugal) are insoles with built-in sensors that connect with athletes as soon as they start running. It assesses form and combines that information with personal and GPS data to build a personalized running plan.
  • The Avanto diving suit by Aino Aarnio-Juurinen and Visa Kupias (Finland) increases the safety and comfort of the diver in cold-water by regulating his body heat. It consists of three separate pieces of clothing and a wireless battery module that function together.
  • D-Shirt by Cityzen Sciences (France), a company that specializes in smart fabrics, is a compressive sports shirt to improve an athlete’s condition and performance. They create fabric embedded with micro-sensors that monitor the wearer’s heart rate, speed, location, and acceleration. The shirt is worn by a professional Japanese rugby team, among others.

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