Ireland’s Gaelic Athletic Association has begun testing an IoT sensor-packed smart vest to aid the health and performance of Irish hurling players.
The organisation is investigating if the vest, which is supplied by Canadian firm Hexoskin with sensors provided by Analog Devices, can be used to offer personalised training to players – based on their performance metrics.
Data from the vests is collected through Microsoft’s Azure IoT cloud analytics platform and will give coaches an insight into the performance and health of players, as well as flagging up any indicators suggesting injury.
There’s also an ECG heart-rate monitor and an accelerometer to track movement and respiratory rate. It works by keeping count of how many times the chest expands and deflates every minute.
When the vest is paired with a smartphone, tablet or computer via Bluetooth, information from the sensors is transmitted and can then be analysed. The sensors last up to 14 hours and, when flat, can be recharged via a USB lead.
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Martin Cotter, who leads IoT at Analog Devices, said: “Analog Devices is very excited to lead this initiative, as it involves a unique set of measurement and analytical challenges that we’re uniquely positioned to solve.
“Some of the performance indicators we’re interested in are not yet fully understood and can’t be measured directly. So, we’re leveraging our precision sensing and algorithm capabilities, as well as our deep expertise in biomedical applications to think differently about the challenge and develop a unique solution.
“We’re thrilled to be working on this challenge along with Microsoft and Hexoskin, without whom a complete deployable solution would not be possible.”
Major potential of IoT
Sam Shaw, head of insight at behavioural insights agency Canvas8, believes that IoT offer major potential for gaining new insights into how athletes are performing and improving on their game.
He said: “One of the most important ideas with connected devices and wearables in sports is that they allow everyday people to access new insights into how they are performing and improving.
“You get feedback on what you’ve done, where you’ve done well and where you can improve, and how that matches up to the last time you did the same thing.
“Yet perhaps most importantly, it means people can compare their data with others. The social aspect is important because humans love to compare themselves to others, but many sports – think running, cycling or skiing – don’t have that competitive element. Now, using sites like Strava, a cyclist can record their journey and then compare distance or time with other cyclists.
“This is a very powerful mechanic for engagement, and when people get that reward of beating someone else (or themselves) it sets of an endorphin response, and makes these sports a lot more interesting and exciting for the general public.”
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