Back in 2009, the Fitbit revolutionized how the average fitness buff approached their training. It was the start of the wearable tech movement for everyday people, which has grown today to include a wide range of devices and functions. However, the forefront of this type of technology lies in the major leagues.
The average professional NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL team relies on wearable tech to help them gauge things like athlete fitness and recovery, as well as to gain insight into how the team moves. In other words, it’s not just about physical health, but also about gaining a new perspective on a team.
In some major leagues, wearable tech is even used to enhance the fan experience. For example, the NHL implants sensors into its pucks and player uniforms in order to track data on how the players and puck move throughout the game. This helps create interesting factoids for fans during live broadcasts, highlighting how fast the puck just moved or in what patterns a team is moving.
This type of information is also relevant to sports betting formats like in-play (or live) betting. Already, certain sportsbooks have partnered with various leagues in order to have access to the latest and most accurate data, which can be pulled from wearable sensors. This boosts the fan experience by empowering them to make decisions with live data.
But most athletes aren’t competing at a professional level—and they won’t be anytime soon. Even so, wearable devices can be helpful for the average runner, Pilates fan, or cyclist to gauge their physical markers. Whether out of personal interest or a desire to improve, these wearable devices will be a great fit.
XMetrics Tracker for Swimmers
The vast majority of wearable technology has been designed for land-based athletes. But XMetrics is looking to change this with their PRO Swim training tracker. The device attaches to the back of swim goggles to lessen drag. Aside from recording data related to each lap, the XMetrics device also lets users create real-time audio feedback to build out a virtual coaching system.
XSens DOT for Motion Tracking
When people think of an athlete, they likely imagine a football or basketball player. In reality, athletes are much more diverse—and even someone like a ballerina will want access to their vital data. In these cases, XSens DOT has created a robust wearable sensor that can be programmed to track complex movements in tandem with other devices. This empowers the user to collect and track customizable data on Android and Mac systems for just about any sport or activity that involves movement, including surfing, BMX, and more.
Gym Aware for Weightlifters
Theoretically, the XSens DOT (mentioned above) could be programmed to track data for weightlifters. However, Gym Aware and other companies have already rolled out a device developed for weightlifters. In fact, Gym Aware’s proprietary Linear Positional Transducer (LPT), which helps coaches measure velocity on repetitions, is now used by all four of the US’s major leagues.
Hykso for Boxers & MMA Fighters
Back in 2009, the Fitbit introduced countless athletes to fitness tracking—but, as seen with the Gym Aware example, many devices are now specialized for a certain sport. Back in 2013, the founders of Hykso began R&D for a specialized device that would measure hand movement up to 1,000 times per second to deliver the number, type, and velocity of each strike. Since then, the product has been featured in a variety of publications, including Forbes and ESPN.
Engo Eyewear for Cyclists
Few sports are as concerned with data as cycling. Not only does it help cyclists track their fitness, but it also provides them with insights into their speed and velocity. In 2021, Engo announced a new eyewear release that will allow cyclists to view their data in real-time. The company has created a ‘Head Up’ display that lets cyclists view the data in front of them and keep their eyes on the road while reviewing their latest stats.