Implantable and wearable devices that send information to the Internet, known collectively as the Internet of Things, is starting to affect everything from home appliances to healthcare. According to ZME Science, the technology is starting to penetrate professional athletics.
The National Football League has taken the initiative of providing every player with tags, essentially RFID devices, that will be planted in each shoulder pad. Stadiums are being equipped with receivers that will pick up data from the tags, including field position, speed, distance traveled and acceleration. The data will be generated and distributed in real time.
One can imagine the applications for this innovation. Every kind of statistic imaginable for each individual player will be available instantly to sportscasters and spectators, both at the stadium and at home, to discuss and argue about.
More importantly, the data will be available to coaches and the players themselves. The data can be used to help improve the performance of the players and to catch problem areas in advance.
One can imagine the technology going further, for instance, sensor devices being implanted in the ball. Then the ball’s velocity and flight path would be ascertained in real time. The degree of inflation could also be determined, preventing the reoccurrence of the recent deflation scandal.
One should also look for the technology to spread to other sports that involve people running fast after balls, such as baseball and basketball. The gathering of information and the use of it to improve performance would take a giant leap in sports as a result.