The Olympics are known for elite athletes showcasing their talents as the world watches. Host cities work feverishly to build new infrastructures and secure networks to enhance the viewing experience while companies work around the clock to create the next hot gadget to enhance athlete performance.
Since the summer Olympics are in full swing, let’s take a look at what inventive gear Rio competitors are taking advantage of to improve their hustle and focus.
These 3-D printed shoes were created especially for Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, and while the shoes were developed solely to generate a marketing buzz for the company’s UA Architech 3-D printed shoes, launched earlier this year, they have taken on a special meaning for the swimmer. While printing the shoes, Under Armour placed the footprint of Phelps’ infant son on the insole to remind the swimmer what he is working for back at home.
The official timekeeper of the Olympic Games since 1932, watchmaker company Omega is expanding their role in this year’s summer games. Omega has developed an underwater lap counter to replace the human officials placed at the pool’s edge counting the number of laps the swimmers have completed. The counters are installed at the bottom of each lane and update each time the swimmer touches a pad on the wall. The numbers are visible to the competitors underwater which keeps the swimmer from having to lift their head out of the water.
Solos has partnered with the U.S. Cycling team to develop a pair of shades that display their vital signs in an aerodynamic and stylish manner. The smart glasses also contain a speaker, which deliver an audio feed of the cyclist’s stats and connect to a mobile device. While the team has trained with the Solos glasses, they are unable to wear them during the competition.
Both the U.S. and Canadian boxing teams have been training with a new punch-tracking system. The Hykso punch-tracking sensors are placed under the tape on the competitor’s wrist and sends data back to a mobile app that counts punches and measures their intensity. The app even has the ability to distinguish what type of punches are being thrown.
Nike has been outfitting Olympic athletes for years, and recently the Nike Sports Research Lab has developed texturized running gear for track and field athletes. Nike AeroBlades are “formed nodes” that look like tiny hooks or spikes that reduce wind resistance by manipulating the movement of air around the athletes. To test the drag-reducing performance, Nike placed the gear on mannequins and placed them in the wind tunnel. This assisted scientists with placement instructions for the athletes.
While the Olympic games are only 17 days, these five innovations are sure to be atop of the podium for years to come.