Four days into the historic Rio 2016, donning our national flags, we are betting big on our athletes to bring us the maximum number of gold medals. We are not sure but we pray, hope and bet they do. But there’s one athlete, a debutante, introduced in this version of the sporting carnival, that is sure to win the most golds. Its technology, more specifically, it is the internet of things.
While the Olympics sporting fever has gripped the world over, the athletes, however are bowled over by the modern technologies, most importantly by the internet of things. From athletes’ jerseys to their shoes, from wrist bands to their head gears, and from the tracks of the fields to the floor of the swimming pools – almost the entire sporting arena has been connected through chips and sensors that can talk to each other, process the humongous data and by it, make the athletes and the organisers more intelligent than they really are! They offer instant insight to athletes’ health as well as their performances.
Rio 2016 : Cycling
Let’s take cycling. Traditionally the cyclists were dependent on winning traits like rigorous physical exercise regimen, fitness, physical and psychological strength, endurance and speed. However there was something missing – analysing all these elements in a tangible way. With IoT that is solved.
Now, sensors are being used with the athletes’ body or body gears, and the data is being analysed by the athletes as well as their coaches who could devise the best way to train their students. Take for example, the USA cycle team. They are using IBM Watson platform and working on Project 2016, a cloud based system to improve team performance.
There are sensors and activity trackers like muscle oxygen sensors, rate monitors and power meters are fitted to the cycles and the athletes. The data generated from the activities is provided to the coaches in an analysed way so that the coaches can use the results to work around the desired results.
Similarly Brazilian cyclists are using Solos’ smart cycling glasses which then take data from the sensors fitted onto the cycle and show their performance on real time – in the glasses itself.
Let’s take another example – Taekwondo. The kicks and punches in the game are so fast, at times, the referee misses to capture, and a fraction of second can snatch the gold from you. To make the scoring system fairer, the Rio Olympics organisers have resorted to IoT this time. The fighters of the Korean martial art are fitted with sensors in their headgear as well as protecting gears like thigh-pads etc. These sensors capture the data, generated from every hit, and send back to the referees on real time, thus eliminating errors.
Smart clothing is one more example of IoT usecase for the athletics in the Rio 2016. Sprinters are wearing Hexoskin’s biometric shirt that can monitor heart and breath rate and send to a mobile app that the athletes can check for their performance. The app also analyses the data and suggests measures. Shirt brand Arrow has also joined the league now and developed its own smart shirt, though they are not being used for the Rio 2016. Athletes are also using Kinematix’s Tune, a kind of smart shoes that have sensors fitted in its soles. These sensors in turn send data to a mobile app where its analysed and sent to their trainers.
No one knows which country would bag the maximum gold, whether it would arch rivals China or the US, but one thing is certain, internet of things or IoT is scoring high in every sport it has participated, and I’m sure IoT bags the most gold in the Rio 2016.