(Oct 2014/Updated Nov) Sensor devices, microchips and GPS show off how they can bring value to the athletic field — and the home entertainment screen


When Florida State met Notre Dame mid-October 2014, the teams were not only top-ranked in U.S. collegiate football, but were also competing in the arena of sports programs adding newly designed tech capabilities to assist their athletes’ training and performance.

The Florida State-Notre Dame ‘Game of the Week’ came down to the last play (and a game-ending controversial call) with headlines across the sports pages, but one story that was left unreported was revealing and had to do with digital wearable tech, #digisports, and the contribution of training intelligence for game-day performance.

Let’s look at Catapult, an Australian company that is beginning to change American sports.

Catapult’s system is know as OptimEye  …  About Catapult     Catapult/OptimEye

Among the metrics the OptimEye program provides is “PlayerLoad”; a single figure that represents how hard a player is working.

Florida State was one of the first universities to buy into the program. FSU ‘secret sauce

“Improved drills, more effective workout plans, and reduced injuries are a few of the advantages teams are seeing from the use of this new technology.”

According to a report by Men’s Fitness: “Soft-tissue injuries—muscle, ligament, and tendon issues that arise from overstretching, lack of strength, and, most important, fatigue—are down 88 percent over the past two seasons, primarily because FSU is limiting overtraining.”


According to SportsTechie, Notre Dame Head Coach Brian Kelly also has signed the team up for Catapult.

“At first I was a bit — I don’t want to say resistant — but I wasn’t sure of the applicability of Catapult,” Kelly said.

“For 25 years I had been setting practice schedules and I knew when to taper down to get a team ready, so Catapult to me was like, ‘Well, I can do that myself’ — until we started to use the device and the numbers started to come back…”

Other teams who have signed on to the Catapult performance system include the San Antonio Spurs, Philadelphia Eagles, Alabama Crimson Tide and Oregon Ducks. The list is now rapidly growing. The value of technology and analytics in sports is just beginning to roll-out…


Catapult acquires GPSports (Aug 2014)

How OptimEyes work – About the size of a old-school pager the OptimEyes are placed inside of a small pocket sewn into the back of a players undershirt. Once operating the devices embedded sensors (magnetometer, accelerometer and gyroscope) start taking measurements on a players acceleration, deceleration, velocity, and heart rate levels and combine these to produce a general player profile and summaries on top overall speeds, distances run and fatigue levels.

Once captured, this data is sent to a cloud service to be analyzed and tracked over time as well as beamed to the smartphone or laptop of coaches and trainers on the sidelines in real-time.

Catapult in the U.K.   Athlete tracking

A wearable revolution

Sensors coming for NFL

… More digital sports/wearable tech

Let’s look at the NFL — and Zebra Technologies

Coming soon to your living room and big-screen monitor… courtesy of NFL collective bargaining agreement — player sensors on-field, on-screen #DigibodySports

Article 51, Section 13(c): “The NFL may require all NFL players to wear during games and practices equipment that contains sensors or other non-obtrusive tracking devices for purposes of collecting information regarding the performance of NFL games, including players’ performances and movements, as well as medical and other player safety-related data.”

Microchips in shoulder pads — RFID sensors from Zebra Technologies and its MotionWorks software will monitor performance, from practice to game day, for coaches, for players, for fans at home using new applications, new options and choices, with sensors to follow and watch, analyze and assess data from the game, for example, actual distance run, yards gained, quarter by quarter, play by play, total game…. “isolate” on your favorite player via data ‘in the cloud’…

Soon apps will enable a ‘second-screen’ insert into your main home screen, entertainment center, monitor or digital device… for individualized viewing, fantasy-football, or game-play devices, look for sensors to change sports as we’ve known sports.

Smart garments are also in sports technology most commonly found in compression shirts aimed at athletes. Shirts have sensors woven into their fabric and a transmitter module typically positioned in the middle of the chest, at the back of the neck or in a side pocket. The transmitter relays the data to a smartphone connected via Bluetooth.

Such shirts have started to appear from a handful of suppliers, such as Adidas with its miCoach and Under Armour’s E39 Compression Shirt. Other clothes manufacturers are trying to expand their brands…

and why stop at smart clothes/smart uniforms?

Take Basketball & check out this new app that tracks all your shots



#DigiSports – a new world of sports is on its way



Zebra Media Release

NFL Communications

Chicago Tribune

USA Today




Published: October 2014