It’s that time of year when you mow the yard a little tighter on Wednesday so that come Saturday you can fire up the grill, plop yourself in the La-z-Boy®, grab the clicker, and watch your favorite football team. As with the rest of life, technology has been increasingly entering the football world. Whether it’s the use of ear pieces in helmets, better surfaces to play on, or lighter weight equipment to increase player speed, everything seems to be getting an upgrade. IoT is getting in on the action as companies race to find ways to improve sports performance. What follows is a list of three of the most interesting areas where devices are being developed for football.1. Concussion Detection – There is a whole host of products in development all racing to meet the market need for detecting concussions in real-time so they can help protect and treat players, and prevent the possibility of second-impact syndrome. The devices range from mouthguards that monitor impact and light up to indicate the level of impact, helmets that have crumple zones to absorb impact, similar to modern day cars, and in the IoT space, the Linx impact assessment system uses wearable sensors that relay data to a host system which performs analytical calculations to and can send alerts to mobile devices, such as your smart phone, when a possible concussion is detected. By providing measurable data to trained personnel on the sidelines, teams can be prepared to more completely evaluate players on whether or not they are fit to return to play. Often times concussion level hits are not seen and the player may be unaware, but with the reporting of real-time data folks on the sidelines can be more informed to protect players health.
2. Monitering Performance Changes – You may have heard of a pitch count in baseball where a team monitors the number of pitches thrown. Additionally, teams often monitor velocity and placement to determine how many pitches rather than innings a starter, middle inning, or relief pitcher can be effective. Similarly, the introduction of the Wilson X smart football is bringing analytics to football and allows one to monitor performance changes over a period of time. The connected Wilson X can monitor:
- Spin rate
- Throw speed
- Spiral efficiency
This can be used by younger and developing quarterbacks to determine if any of the above metrics are improving or getting worse over the course of a season or training period. It relies on Bluetooth, and an app exists for your smartphone to upload the data.
3. Tackling Dummies – I’ll admit it, this one is not in the IoT space yet, but it will be when the creators inevitably introduce some sensors and relay the data to a host side system for analysis. You can wear all the pads you want, but tackling somebody is prone to hurting yourself and the individual you are tackling. How do you improve on this fundamental portion of the game? Engineer a better tackling dummy. Even the soft pads they have today have to be held by somebody, and I don’t know about you but I’d be reluctant to get behind a tackling dummy of any size if a 250 lb. person is about to launch into it...
Enter the MVP for the job, the Mobile Virtual Player, a robotic tackling dummy that a player can practice tackling with a reduced chance of getting hurt. The MVP isn’t stationary like tackling dummies of the past; it can clock a 40 time in 5 seconds, weighs 190 lbs., doesn’t get tired, stands up on its own after detecting it’s been tackled, and reduces player-on-player impact. Much like the football sled when it was introduced, this looks to be a revolutionary piece of equipment to practice the fundamentals of football while simultaneously reducing the wear and tear on players.
Those are just three of the more exciting innovations coming to football. If you come up with an idea you want to see come to fruition while cheering on your favorite team, drop us a line and we’ll help make it a reality.