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Be A Good Sport

Wearables help athletes perfect their technique

Digital fitness tracking equipment and apps have, until recently, tended to focus on people who are going places, like runners and cyclists who want to track their speed, distance, and progress. But that leaves out a whole category of athletes, both amateur and pro, that want to track more minute movements: the swings and shots that can make or break a game. 911-1Zepp: Zepp takes wristband technology to the next level by adding a sport-specific layer to a wearable sensor that tracks the unique swings of baseball players, tennis players, and golfers alike. For tennis players, for example, the device’s algorithms can detect both the difference between a forehand and backhand and the speed of the swing, as well as the impact of the racket on the ball to infer spin and accuracy. Players can then use the app to review each aspect of their swing, compare their movements to pros’, and learn how to tweak their motions to enhance overall performance. 91114-2Athos: Athos smart clothing is threaded with electromyography sensors that gather data from all parts of the body they touch. The info is sent to Core, a pebble-sized module that slips into the clothing and communicates with the Athos app to reveal details gathered from all of the wearer’s muscles covered by the shirt and shorts. Not only does the outfit provide heart and breathing rates but it also collects information on individual muscle performance and fat burning. The gear can even tell users whether muscles are being used in balance to help athletes improve their form and avoid injury. 91114-3Hoop Tracker: Hoop Tracker, a two-part system developed for basketball players, consists of a smart watch and a sensor that attaches magnetically to a hoop. The sensor logs players’ swishes and misses, then sends the data back to the watch so that ballers can see their results in real time. Hoop Tracker also charts players’ field goal, free throw, and three-point percentages, enabling them to compare their current game to their averages to see if they’re performing up to par. The system also includes a series of training games, such as Score 100 and 3-Point Contest, that enable users to further challenge themselves.