As physicians, we all know the important data that tracking vital signs provide. Now imagine wearing a shirt that tracks your heart rate, electrical activity in the heart, lung capacity, and metabolism. Sounds like a futuristic movie, right? Think again – the future is here. But you might need to be a Special Forces soldier or NFL hopeful to get one – at least for now.
Last season, the NFL asked their highest-profile draftees to wear special shirts fitted with sensor technology developed by Under Armour and Zephyr Technologies that tracked and measured their performance and gathered details like acceleration during the first 10 yards of the 40-yard dash. This technology is now helping NFL teams measure and improve their players’ performance, which can translate to more wins and more money for players and teams alike.
Zephyr Technologies began six years ago developing wearable monitors for the Special Forces. As sensors and wireless radio technology got cheaper, self-monitoring began exploding among consumers, and Zephyr is following the money trail in the professional sports and consumer markets.
Physicians for sports teams can use the technology to better understand how an athlete’s heart behaves under the stress of playing the game. That information can help teams more efficiently train athletes, help prevent injuries, and prolong their careers.
Do you think wearable technology has the potential to help keep the general public healthier, too?