A professional athlete spends hours upon hours training, practicing, and working out their body, so why not optimize that time to know exactly where their body can improve and learn how to achieve their peak performance? Companies like Intel, IncludeHealth, and PUSH are giving athletes exactly that option while also helping to prevent injury and showing the athlete what can be tweaked or corrected. Programs like these also allowed many athletes to continue training during the beginning stages of the pandemic, when sports were put on hold. These programs are taking athletes to the next level.
Intel’s 3D Athlete Tracking, or 3DAT, has been utilized over the last several months at EXOS Training Camp in Phoenix for NFL hopefuls. This platform allows coaches and trainers to gain insights with real-time data on a player’s biomechanics, speed, acceleration, and stride-length. Completely hands-free for athletes, it allows them to run their normal drills while being monitored by a camera at 60 frames per second. This footage is then analyzed by Intel’s AI software and coaches are presented a customized chart on the athlete’s skeletal make-up, how they operate in motion, joint angles, and any current strain on the body. It also detects any small movements that could hinder their performance or lead to injury. While the program does not advise players on changes to be made, it enables coaches to better guide players on how to improve, make adjustments, or learn what could be obstructing peak performance. This program was originally intended for commentators of the 2020 Olympics to show viewers how the bodies of star athletes perform in comparison to others. Intel plans to debut the 3DAT technology to viewers at the now rescheduled Olympics.
Last year, digital health and performance company, IncludeHealth, partnered with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital to market and commercialize the hospital’s Augmented Neuromuscular Training, or aNMT. The hospital developed this technology in collaboration with researchers from the University of Cincinnati. Similar to Intel’s 3DAT, the aNMT uses camera-based technology to monitor an athlete’s, or even high-risk patients, biomechanics, providing an in-depth examination of movements and showing an athlete where to make adjustments in order to prevent injury or to help the athlete excel in performance. This allows athletes to develop their own solutions in the way their body moves, which in turn, makes the adjustments easier to be applied in their sport. With this new partnership, IncludeHealth will make this technology more accessible and affordable, helping not only athletes but also elderly patients at risk of falling and children with developmental deficits as well.
Wearable fitness technology company, PUSH, takes a different approach bringing professional level training home. Currently having worked with more than 20,000 professional and Olympic level athletes, PUSH announced the customer-focused program last November. This program allows athletes of all levels to workout using equipment they already have access to, while receiving customized data and AI based recommendations, educating them and allowing them to better reach their training goals. Sports-specific training plans, advice from coaches, and velocity-based training allows athletes to optimize their energy and avoid incorrect or over training. Benchmarking an athlete’s speed, power, strength, and endurance to receive real-time analytics will allow them to better understand their fitness levels and how to reach their peak performance. Putting the finishing touches on the platform, PUSH plans for the initial launch early this year.
Technology in the sports industry has grown tremendously over the last few years. With more companies developing wearable technology and the expected growth in sports use of virtual reality, we will continue to see athletes excel and break new records. The increased medical application could also make this a truly exciting year for patients with disabilities.