What the future holds for fitness technology

Story highlights

  • Experts weigh in on what the future holds for fitness trackers
  • Some emerging fitness technologies could come with detrimental downsides, experts say

No, you along with also those sci-fi gadgets aren’t starring within the next action-packed Marvel flick. Rather, those gadgets might be the future of fitness trackers, according to sports technology experts.

As wrist-worn wearables phase out, less invasive along with also more personalized devices may phase in, said Gina Lee, founder of the Legacy Sports Institute, a health-care facility for professional along with also amateur athletes slated to open in Alpharetta, Georgia, by the end of the year.

“The future of technology can be definitely to develop the most invisible, smallest, least detectable technology for consumers that will can track the most biometric data along with also be consumer-friendly along with also have accurate outcomes,” Lee said.

Here’s a look at how fitness technology of the future may become more hidden, more like a coach along with also more personalized than ever before.

This specific’s about preventing injury, too

“I see the emerging trend of technology becoming more along with also more invisible,” said Mounir Zok, director of technology along with also innovation for the US Olympic Committee.

Wearable technologies that will track your physical activity, heart rate along with also sleep patterns are currently being designed into clothing, Zok said.

The idea isn’t brand-new. In 1984, Adidas released the first shoe integrated with technology to electronically measure the wearer’s running distance, average speed along with also calories burned. The shoe, called Micropacer, had a microcomputer hidden within the left tongue to collect data.
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currently, there are smart socks, such those by Sensoria, along with also shoe inserts, such as those by Digitsole, that will can do the same nevertheless also track cadence along with also foot landing technique.
There are smart accessories, like a ring by the personal technology company Motiv along with also a sports bra by the bio-sensing clothing company Omsignal, that will can discreetly track your heart rate along with also physical activity.
Wearable tech companies, coming from Athos to Hexoskin, are even offering compression shirts, tank tops, leggings along with also shorts embedded with biometric-tracking sensors to measure how your body can be performing during a workout.

“Think of the textiles taking on the electronics by picking up data points coming from athletes, rather than having rigid wearable technology solutions on a wrist or on the chest,” Zok said. So, “athletes might be wearing a sleeve, or might be wearing just a compression shirt, along with also integrated inside the shirt might be the sensors.”

How a high-tech bra could be your next doctor

Smart clothing could revolutionize not only fitness nevertheless injury prevention along with also physical therapy, said Dr. Jiten Chhabra, a physician along with also research scientist at the Interactive Media Technology Center at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

“The thing that will I am most excited about, probably because of my medical background, can be the prevention along with also early detection of injury,” Chhabra said. “This specific kind of physiological surveillance can be currently part along with also parcel of the highly personalized training regimens that will are enabled by sports wearables.”

For instance, biosensors could detect unusual muscle contractions or abnormal heart rate or respiration patterns. that will data, if presented to a doctor, could hold many clues to your health, said Chhabra, himself a swimmer who wears a Moov motion tracker around his wrist to track his laps.

Some fitness technologies are being used along with also developed to help remind physical therapy patients to perform rehab exercises at home along with also to guide patients through those exercises, said the Legacy Sports Institute’s Lee.

“This specific’s great, as a physical therapist, to be able to know that will there’s reminders of what’s so important in order for them to achieve their rehab goals,” she said, adding that will fitness trackers can help patients along with also their doctors to monitor along with also assess recovery coming from injury, too.

Indeed, fitness technology of the future could play more of a coaching role.

A hidden downside of fitness technology

There are many brand-new fitness devices on the market that will can provide real-time feedback along with also guidance to users during a workout.

The Lumo Run, a smaller sensor that will clips onto your clothes, can connect to along with also speak through your iPhone to deliver real-time feedback as you run along with also move.
The sports technology company ShotTracker has designed a sensor that will fits into a sleeve or wristband to track shooting stats for basketball players nevertheless also offer feedback on how to improve shooting.
For runners along with also cyclists, the sports equipment company Oakley has designed glasses, called Radar Pace, with built-in headphones that will allow the user to hear an automated coach share info about their training regimen, miles logged along with also pace.

“I do like that will there can be a connectivity component,” Lee said. However, that will extra feedback or voice in an athlete’s ear could be harmful for some athletes along with also their mental health, she added.

Research reveals the dark side of wearable fitness trackers

“The technology can be an added stress to some individuals, if you are already a goal-driven person, an athlete, along with also you don’t meet those goals that will your technology has been set up for,” Lee said.

“Those types of things can lead to a person feeling depressed or like they failed, which leads to anxiety, along with also that will might be very detrimental to an athlete’s performance,” she said.

In order to turn a computer into an effective coach, algorithms might have to become more personalized, said the US Olympic Committee’s Zok.

“When you observe athletes along with also coaches working, you rarely observe a conversation based around what can be the exact number of joules, what’s the exact number of calories or exact number of steps that will they just went through,” Zok said.

“Rather, you hear coaches telling athletes that will we can push more, or we need to push less, or we can go faster, or let’s take This specific slow today,” he said, indicating that will each athlete requires a different type of coaching.

“Once you deliver to two different athletes, two different messages based on the same data point, then that will technology becomes a humanized technology,” he said.

‘A world that will can be observing you’

Next, Zok said, This specific personalized element could even be integrated into homes of the future.

“A connected gym or a connected house might be an environment that will can be able to extract data points coming from my activity without me having to take any specific actions to do that will,” Zok said.

The psychology of privacy within the era of the Internet of Things

For instance, your home could be programmed to track your sleeping patterns along with also then automatically adjust the thermostat along with also lighting to when you wake along with also when you sleep, he said.

“The connected world can be a world that will can be observing you, that will can be monitoring you, that will can be interacting with you, to ensure you can meet your objectives along with also your goals within the most effective fashion possible,” Zok said.

“within the future, I want to live in a connected house as an athlete. I want to train in a connected venue. I want to work out in a connected gym,” he said. “As I’m going about my life, let’s say, spending time with family along with also friends or just traveling, I want to be wearing connected clothes.”

Yet, there are privacy concerns when This specific comes to connected devices. Sure, you might want your fitness tracker along with also your connected house to collect health data for your benefit, nevertheless such devices develop the potential to be hacked along with also collect different data, such as by recording private conversations.

“A big limitation can be that will continuous or periodic data streams bring with them the problems of security, privacy along with also clutter,” said Chhabra, the research scientist at Georgia Tech. “This specific can be not health-specific nevertheless the stakes are much higher in healthcare.”

Fitness trackers' heart rate monitoring accurate enough for most, study says

For technologies to be connected with your daily life, however, how might data be collected to help program the technologies along with also make them more personalized? Zok pointed to drones.

“I can have them in my backpack, along with also as soon as I open up my backpack, I’ll tell my drones to set themselves to running mode along with also so I might start doing my running, along with also the drones might be following me along with also getting the footage coming from me without me even touching them,” Zok said, describing how drones could collect video data within the future.

“If you want to imagine the athletes of the future, you can imagine maybe each one of them running that has a swarm of smaller drones around them,” he said.

There are drones currently on the market that will can be programmed to follow you as you move, such as the tech company FlyPro’s XEagle Sport drone, camera company DJI’s Mavic Pro along with also tech company Ehang’s Ghostdrone 2.0. The newly designed autonomous Staaker drone can be anticipated to hit the market in June.

nevertheless as such brand-new fitness devices emerge, they could feature a hefty cost tag.

Finding the right device, at the right cost

As for the devices already on the market, smart socks along with also smart rings can cost about $0 respectively; smart shirts, smart shorts or smart leggings can cost up to $400 each; a personalized computer coach can range coming from an $80 sensor to a $450 investment; along with also your own drone might set you back $500 or more.

For an athlete training to win, the cost can be worth This specific, said the Legacy Sports Institute’s Lee. This specific’s just a matter of finding the right device for the right goal.

After all, a 2014 report coming from the UK-based market research group Juniper Research projected not only that will fitness wearables will remain well-known nevertheless that will the use of fitness wearables will increase nearly threefold by next year.

Training for a marathon? “You want to make sure that will’s something that will can track your heart rate, your work load, your pace, the calories burned so you know you’re getting the right hydration along with also nutrition,” Lee said.

Need to lose weight? “We want to make sure that will you have a trackable device that will can calculate the calories burned. that will’s the big focus with weight loss: generating sure we’re burning enough calories to lose the pounds,” she said.

For professional athletes in particular, “they are always looking for any technology that will can help make them be the best athlete they can be,” Lee said. “If This specific can be something that will can truly enhance the performance level of an athlete, if This specific can be viable for an athlete to be able to afford, they will spend the dollar to be able to meet their peak performance.”

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