Polar, the company know for its heart rate sensors and fitness tracking wearables, has entered the wearable clothing market with its smart sports shirt.
The Polar Team Pro Shirt is designed specifically for athletes and sports teams, to monitor heart rate and track GPS. It aims to give coaches and physios greater insight into player performance and well-being without interfering during activity.
Another sports wearable
The design of the Team Pro Shirt, which was announced at CES 2017 in Las Vegas, is simple. It comes sleeveless, with two thin heart rate capture points embedded directly into the fabric in order to deliver real-time data on heart rate.
There is also a small sensor pod inserted into a pocket on the back of the shirt, near the shoulder blades, to track metrics like movement, speed, distance and acceleration.
Polar said the shirt would be integrated into its Team Pro system, which is designed for advanced team sports coaching to broadcast live training data, as the data collected from the shirt sensors is then shared with a coach’s iPad in real-time.
It’s a product that is already in use by certain NBA, NHL, MLB and NFL sides, according to Wareable. The benefit for these teams is that they can use the shirts rather than a heart rate chest strap, which is deemed less convenient and often uncomfortable.
The use of data analytics in sport is nothing new. Australian company, Catapult Sports, is known for supplying many NFL and NBA teams with its OptimEye performance tracker, while Adidas is known to have worked alongside AC Milan’s soccer team with its miCoach solution.
But, as explained in a blog post by a professional soccer player last year, not all players are completely happy wearing these shirts or devices and take some convincing.
So, perhaps Polar has found a more comfortable, less intrusive alternative. That remains to be seen, though Dutch soccer team, AZ Alkmaar, seem to think so – video below.
Either way, the shirt is geared for launch in March 2017.