The 2016 Olympic Games will be the first in a post-wearable world. While some devices were available for the 2012 games in London, in Rio many athletes are utilizing wearables to help improve their training. It is the access to new metrics and the precision that these devices offer that prompted the U.S. Olympic Committee to embrace the concept of wearables.
Mounir Zok, USOC Director of Technology, works with athletes from all sports to help them boost their training potential. Here are some of the tools helping Team USA bring back the gold.
Key Metrics in Your Eye
The U.S. Olympic Cycling Team will be the beneficiaries of the Solos Smart Eyewear, a pair of smart sunglasses designed along with the team. The device has a tiny heads-up display inside the lenses, providing users with key metrics like speed, distance, heart rate and more, literally right in front of their eyes. Simply by making a slight adjustment, a cyclist can avert their gaze at the HUD in front of them and capture a clear view of the road ahead.
Antimicrobial Suits Keeping Rowers Healthy
A widespread concern before the opening of the 2016 games was the condition of Rio's water venue for the rowing competitions. Posing a health risk to rowers, the The New York Times described the water as a "toxic stew" which contains a drug resistant "super bacteria".
To keep rowers healthy, textile engineers at Philadelphia University developed an antimicrobial suit to help ward off these microbes. While the suits cannot stop all bacteria from reaching the athlete, it will assist in preventing it from reaching the center of their bodies.
Wearables in the Pool
Also making a splash in Rio is a more traditional wearable device designed for athletes, the Whoop Strap 2.0. Swimmer Ryan Lochte wears this while training. What sets the Whoop Strap 2.0 apart is its ability to analyze the physical strain on an athlete as well as to calculate recovery times, in addition to more common features, such as sleep and heart rate.
Olympic athletes benefit from information provided to them by wearable technology similar to what a wellness program can offer an employee. Check out the CHWA's, The State of Wearables in the Workplace Survey , to learn more about how wearables are impacting the workplace today.