Wearables in sport have been a hot topic over the past couple of weeks and next in line hoping to find its way into player's lives is LiveSkin.
Designed for rugby and American football players, the set of wearable sensors can be fitted inside shoulder pads and are able to measure force sustained and exerted by muscle groups. It's essentially analysing how a player tackles with their bodies.
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The captured collision data can be sent in real time to a companion smartphone, tablet or Apple Watch app wirelessly. Then coaches, physios and medical teams can then dig through the data and help optimise training drills and rehabilitation programmes for players returning from an injury. That data can be stored over a period of time to help identify long term trends.
It's been created by Sansible Wearables, a Scottish startup that's already had clubs trialling the sensors and hopes to have players wearing it on a larger scale in the next 12- 18 months. It's also hoping that LiveSkin sensors could have their place in grassroots sports initiatives including the RFU's All Schools programme.
Jack Ng, founder of the company explained why he believes LiveSkin is offering something very different to existing sports wearables. "Although wearables are already used in sports, our product is doing something very different: measuring force.
"There is a real gap in the market for a system which can accurately understand and communicate how impact relates to different athletes, at different times and, ultimately, the outcome of a game. Unsurprisingly, contact sports, like rugby and American football, are the likeliest to adopt it and see the biggest results."
Sports and wearables
This isn't the first time a company has sought to bring wearables to big hitting contact sports like rugby and American football. Back in 2015, English Premiership side Saracens wore xPatch impact sensors developed by Seattle based startup X2 Systems. Samsung Australia recently unveiled the Brainband, a sweatband looking wearable that can monitor concussions and could help measure the long term effects of getting hit out on the field.
Wearable tech is also steadily becoming more prominent in sport to aid player performance and to prevent injury. The MLB approved the use of select wearable devices during games for the first time, while in in the NBA, one player was banned from using a wearable although discussions are apparently taking place to relax the laws on having tech on court.