Researchers at University of British Columbia have developed smart garment that has the potential of changing how vitals and motion of athletes are monitored in future.
The work by three UBC entrepreneurs has culminated into a smart garment capable of monitoring vital performance metrics through sensors and software embedded in the fabric. The team has used near-infrared spectroscopy to measure the local metabolism of an athlete’s muscles to record information about how fast the athlete is burning energy and how much energy is still left with them. Such vitals and energy consumption data could prove of immense value to mold the training program and how to increase the capability of the athlete.
Some of the other information that can be obtained through the smart garment includes direct insight into recovery of athletes; whether they’re at risk of injury, and whether they are physically prepared for competition.
The team is working with the Burnaby Hockey Academy, University of Northern British Columbia sport scientists, and other Canadian athletes to perfect its wearable prototypes, with a final production prototype projected to be ready by the fall of 2018.
Athletes are known to push the limits during training as well as during competition and it is vital for them as well as their coaches to understand muscle metabolism, fitness, stamina, and health to ensure that they don’t go over board with training and end up harming or injuring themselves.
“If an athlete is injured, the coach can see how the injury is progressing and they can steer a middle course between being too conservative or too aggressive in their training programs,” said Kevin Reilly, PhD engineering graduate from UBC.