Tag Archives: sports

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Feb 9

When the largest game of the year is hosted in California’s Bay Area, you can expect the NFL to get a little help from the locals: Silicon Valley tech giants. This year’s game, as the 50th Super Bowl, was an important anniversary worthy of showcasing the latest specs in technology. From the stadium, to the halftime performance, to the athletic gear, #SuperBowl50 did not hold back.

As it happened, the game itself wasn’t much to brag about. The Denver Broncos beat the Carolina Panthers 24 to 10 in a monotonous display of good defense, which though a feat for Peyton Manning did not make for exciting viewership. Luckily, there’s so much more to the Super Bowl these days than touchdowns and field goals. What lacks in the match can be made up for by the digital fan experience, both onscreen and behind the scenes. This year, boundaries were broken in both the delivery and the message of technology at its finest.

The support

The spectrum of Super Bowl 50’s technology didn’t begin and end on February 7th in San Francisco. Rather, it was many months in the making, with preparation taking up a huge portion of technological real estate, so to speak.

The Super Bowl Host Committee is largely responsible for ensuring these preparations come together smoothly in the weeks leading up to the game. This year, the committee’s CEO Keith Bruce emphasized that first and foremost, Super Bowl 50 would be all the about the tech.

“Our goal was to be the most technologically advanced Super Bowl ever,” Bruce said. “We’re at the center of the digital economy of the world, home to a lot of the stalwarts of tech, and we thought we should embrace that.”

Software and tech companies needed very little urging to get on board with this mission. Transportation came via Google’s commuter fleet and Uber on-demand, while laptops, phones and other equipment were provided by Apple. Google also helped develop the Road to 50 app, a virtual guidebook to the event, which fans could use to order food to their seats enjoy other perks.

With the help of Verizon and other providers, Levi’s stadium fully equipped with 400 miles of fiber optic cable, 1,200 wifi access points and 1,700 BlueTooth beacons to keep fans connected at all times. All in all, the committee raised $50 million from corporate sponsors to hold Super Bowl 50 to the highest of standards, worthy the sport’s 50 year mark and the region’s technology prowess.

The specs

Beyond sponsorships, the fun continues from all angles. Super Bowl 50 featured camera technology was at its finest: the EyeVision 360 displayed a 360 view of the stadium streamed from 36 cameras around the venue, while the debut of the Pylon Cam placed 16 cameras in end zones to film goal line sand sidelines, aiding officials in making tough calls. Athletic gear has advanced over the years as well — this year, players donned state of the art gear with RFID tracking in their shoulder pads.

Behind the scenes, there’s also advanced cyber security to take into account. Following terror attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, the biggest American sporting event of the year took no chances with security — luckily, and they had the technology available to make it an utmost priority. Though FBI declined to reveal their measures in full detail, we do know that disarming robots, helicopters, military jets were on standby.

Perhaps the greatest security measure, though, was surveillance. With over 600 cameras and an advanced scanning system that aggregated threats from the ground, sky, and social media, streams of real-time data were analyzed by agents at a Joint Operations center at an undisclosed location.

The social

Social networking continues to be an enormous boon for brands and fans alike. The “second screen” experience, which allows live tweets and commentary from anyone with a device, proved successful once more: it’s is the ultimate augmentation of the Super Bowl, maximizing engagement in and out of the stadium.

Since the game wasn’t stirring up huge excitement in and of itself, we can thank our lucky stars for the halftime performance, which generated significant buzz online. Halftime shows often feature high-tech spectacles: for example, the mechanical cat ridden by Katy Perry last year, which was somehow overshadowed by the antics of Left Shark.

This year, Coldplay lead a technicolor display complete with interactive light-up LED wristbands, video walls, lasers and light-up inflatable balls. But as if proving technology for technology’s sake is bound to fall flat, it was Beyonce that stole the show with the performance of her brand-new song “Formation.” Together, Beyonce, Chris Martin and Bruno Mars evoked themes ranging from LGBT pride to African American empowerment, making the show as politically charged as it was electronically.

All in all, fans of the Broncos, Beyonce, and technology should be pleased with Super Bowl 50. And for those still unsatisfied, there are only seven more months until football season starts up again, with the power of a million screens and screams close behind.

Featured image: duluoz cats via Flickr

Dec 11

There are all types of methods, used and abused by human beings, that have stunning effects on athletic performance. Steroids, widely banned, have the ability to make athletes better, faster and stronger — nonetheless, such drugs are largely illegal for ethical and medical reasons.

In the meantime, the concept of the human body as a machine that can be tweaked and optimized is gaining traction thanks to advancements in science and technology. But the world of sports remains committed to the all-natural athlete, despite the fact that this ideal no longer exists. Today’s athletes are aided by special uniforms, technological training, nutritional supplements — and, in spite of regulators’ best efforts — new types of doping methods that are difficult to ban and impossible to trace.

It may seem odd that athletes are expected to adhere to primitive standards of excellence while the rest of the world embraces technological advancement, unhindered. Drug bans in the name of health and fairness make sense, but steroids are not the only way athletes can boost their performance. Safer and stranger modern innovations exist — the use of which some term “tech doping.” These futuristic methods don’t always fall under the realm of cheating, but some may toe the line.

Tracking and perfecting

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Sans drugs, there are many ways athletes can (and do) fine tune their bodies to near super-human results. Perhaps the simplest and least controversial way involves technology that tracks performance for valuable insight on what drives successes and failures. With proper data, the athletic achievements can be replicated, mistakes reduced and overall performance improved.

Today’s athletes can swallow pills that monitor core temperature, wear sensors that track movement, and attach devices that record video and statistics. The wealth of information yielded by this technology can help athletes (along with their coaches and trainers) understand their performances and tweak their technique accordingly.

And it gets more advanced: athletes that digitally track their eye movements are able to discover which retinal fixations (and corresponding cognitive functions) correlate with success. This isn’t cheating, but it’s not natural either. Understanding the body and the brain this intimately would not be possible without the breadth of technology we use today to obtain and harness information.

Uniforms and equipment

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Can high-tech sportswear constitute as cheating? Apparently so: ultrasonically welded swimwear by Speedo was determined to have artificially enhanced athletic performance in the 2008 Olympics, after which the high-tech swimsuits were banned. There is little reason to believe that cutting edge shoes, outfits and equipment couldn’t, in time, give athletes a similar edge on land.

Already, today’s athletes benefit from lightweight, sweat-resistant sportswear that boosts performance by minimizing hindrances like weight and heat. NFL quarterbacks have in-helmet speakers, Olympians have bobsleds made of carbon fiber, and speed skaters wear suits that reduce drag. Is this cheating? Some think it comes close, or at the very least gives certain athletes unfair advantages.

The big issue here has a lot to do with resources, or the lack thereof. When the quality of equipment and sportswear dependant on a team or nation’s money flow, it’s little wonder wealth and wins so often go hand in hand.

Techy Training

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The optimization of body and brain isn’t only done through careful tracking, but physically altering the way an athlete thinks, moves and acts in prep time.

A system called Neurotopia is one of such methods used by Football players for brain training and stimulation. Through this technology, athletes can train their brains to influence physiological processes that amplify their performance. The machine lets its user play a game with their mind in which lively mental focus is rewarded, and low focus punished. If used correctly and often, the player’s brain will optimize performance for rewards outside of the machine, too.

And speaking of science fiction-style training: athletes have experimented with all types of equipment — like pods that simulate exercising, and altitude chambers that replicate low-oxygen conditions — all for improved metabolism and endurance. They may also have highly-engineered diets, workout routines and therapies to ensure their brains and bodies are fine tuned to perform under pressure.

Training has always been key to success, but it’s only recently that advanced technology, science and metrics have become this valuable, and in some cases manipulative of mind and body. When these innovations become mainstream, the athletic training montages in sports movies like Rocky will seem crude and prehistoric.

Health and wellbeing

One of the biggest boons to athletes is the likelihood of injury, and the lasting impacts of, well, impacts. Luckily, there are emerging innovations that help prevent athletes from getting hurt, or ensure quick and effective treatment when they do. With athlete safety more scrutinized than ever, preserving bodies and careers is a priority for those in the sports tech industry.

Recently, various types of wearable technology have been used to detect high-impact collisions and other injuries so that medical treatment can be undergone right away. Gear is designed to be protective, with highly-engineered fits that support moving bodies and prevent injury. Head trauma may soon be able to be diagnosed on the sidelines with advanced spit and blood tests.

On top of this, athletes may soon benefit from a scientific feats that make them even better functioning than the normal human. For example, a cooling glove that eases muscle fatigue and produces results equal to steroids, supplements and cryotherapy to enhance athletic recovery, or even genetic engineering for built-in athletic strength.

What’s next?

Put all of these together, and we arguably have athletes that are better, stronger and faster as a direct result of science and technology. Today’s athletes are not natural at all, and it’s not a bad thing — some might even call it an inevitability.

When it comes to cheating, it will be difficult to know where the line should be drawn. Even with regulations in place, many athletes continue to quietly partake in performance enhancement drugs undetected. Some argue that sports would be better off allowing steroid use — transparently and with and medical advisement — than to let it continue in the shadows. As for “tech doping,” it’s also a sticky issue. As long as the playing field is unequal, players with money and science on their side will likely keep the upper hand.

The same goes for safety. Though many technological innovations protect athletes, not all teams can afford the standard let alone the extras. Winning almost always trumps safety, and only rigorous and long-term research will tell if emerging performance enhancement methods are truly sound.

At some point, fans, athletes and others in the industry will have to acknowledge the implications of these advancements, and decide: Can we equal the playing field? Do we allow enhancements of some kinds, and not others? Or none at all? Will we embrace the super-athlete, or decide natural is better after all? Whatever the case, I hope decisions are mindful of both athlete well-being and the potential of tech to transform sports as we know them.

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Dec 9

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Leave it to scientists at MIT to create the sportswear of the future — and expect it to look a lot more than a superhero costume than jersey. Recently, researchers at MIT Media Lab’s Tangible Media Group have been using an ancient bacteria to develop a self-ventilating second skin.

The bacteria was discovered 1,000 years ago in Japan, but only now is it being repurposed as a wearable solution to bodily sweat. With the bacteria, scientists have developed a natto material called BioLogic that physically morphs when exposed to moisture. Tiny flaps in the material open when the body within reaches certain humidity conditions so that the sweat can evaporate.

How does it work? Well, first the cells were grown in bioreactors, then molded for use in a micro-resolution printer so it could be bioprinted onto wearable fabrics. The film deposits were then sent off to the Royal College of Art, who integrated them into clothing by pinpointing which parts of the body sweat the most.

Unsurprisingly, sportswear manufacturers are incredibly interested in this innovative development. New Balance is one such company invested in the process. For athletes, this could mean light, breathable clothing that keeps your sweat from saturating workout clothes or uniforms by responding to your body to open up ventilators.

There’s a bigger picture here, of course. Biologically sensitive material opens as many doors as it does flaps far outside the world of athletics. Researchers are thinking about color-changing clothes, lampshades that respond to light, flowers that blossom and change color when watered, and steam-activated teabags.

So basically, if you’re a human that runs, has a garden, uses artificial light, drinks tea or all of the above, it’s entirely possible you’ll encounter BioLogic or a BioLogic-like material in the future. Who ever though bacteria on your skin and in your hot beverage would be a desirable thing? Not me, but apparently innovation knows no boundaries.

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Nov 20

What happens when you put two teams decked head-to-toe in green and red on one football field? Thousands of fans seeing nothing but gray.

NFL sponsor Nike’s Color Rush initiative did just that during a game between the Buffalo Bills and the New York Jets on Thursday, November 12. The uniform designs, intended to be a “bold new look” celebrating the 50th year of football on color TV, ended up worse than black and white for color blind spectators.

It appears that Nike forgot to consider just how common color blindness is: one in twelve men have it, along with .5 percent of women. Without any other visual cues, the Bills’ red suits and the Jets’ green ones were nearly identical to many. NFL uniforms are typically distinguished not only by team colors, but by featuring one team fully or partially in white.

Because colorblind folks have the most trouble with reds and greens, it didn’t help that the Bills and Jets were decked out in bright holiday colors. They may have well been watching a homogeneous 22 person team in monochromatic spandex. I guess five decades of color TV is enough time to forget that some people don’t have the retinal cone cells, no matter the quality of their television.

Even the Bills’ head coach, Rex Roy, was confused. “I look out there and my team’s in red. Blue, I might have had a chance,” he said. “But I’m like, ‘Who are they? Oh shoot, that’s us. So, it’s different.” The NFL called it a Christmas-tinged nightmare, though it was obviously porridge-tinged for some.

As for fans without vision impairment, they haven’t reacted all too positively to the look either. Football fans aren’t known for their mild manners any more than New Yorkers are, and there’s a 100% particular overlap in this case. Twitter exploded with complaints and jokes, as Twitter is wont to do, with players compared to power rangers, gummy bears and Christmas ornaments.

The Color Rush initiative is meant to honor each franchise by combining current and historic team colors in unique and bold uniforms, which each of the 32 teams will don during Thursday night games. Fortunately, Nike now knows that there are other factors than pomp and circumstance to take into consideration while testing new uniform designs.

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Nov 16

As I’ve touched on before, wearable technology is bringing new and astounding changes to the world of sports. Wearable tech can improve player safety, team visibility, call efficiency and so much more. In other words, it’s a game changer — literally.

Some wearable technology is already used by athletes, but when it comes to imagining what the future could hold, the sky’s the limit. Brilliant hypothetical designs can demonstrate the potential of wearable technology to improve sports like soccer, rugby and football. Some may even be useful for non-athletes as well.

The following concepts (by Bwin via CNET) imagine how athletes’ outfits will look and function in the future. I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to seeing these innovations in action on fields, courts, and rinks across the globe someday.

1. Offside lights & watches

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It can be difficult for everyone — including referees — to tell when athletes are out of bounds. With light-up offside indicators, flexible LED displays would flash on players’ outfits when they’ve crossed a boundary. This can minimize and even eliminate human error, or worse, cheating — the lights don’t lie.

GoalControl is one organization already focused on clarifying boundaries through wearable technology. In this case, the referee would have the wearable: a watch that displays real-time data based on camera footage so refs can make more accurate calls.

2. Player cameras

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Speaking of footage, imagine getting a view of a game from your favorite athlete’s perspective. With wearable cameras like GoPros in use commercially, it’s feasible that similar devices could be embedded into athlete uniforms, assuming the rules would allow it.

Already, wearable technology like Google Glass has been used to record behind-the-scene or even on-the-scene footage at sports events by both reporters and athletes. In the future, POV footage could give viewers a unique perspective of the game, while giving sports organizations a brand new product to broadcast or sell.

3. Wearable ads & statistics

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Advertising is a huge part of professional sports, as is evidenced by Super Bowl commercials, corporate sponsorships, on-site activations and more. Flexible LED displays could theoretically turn an athlete’s uniform into another screen for brand promotions.

LED ad outfits are unlikely to become the standard anytime soon, least of all in the United States. Though sports teams globally have long brandished the names of sponsors on their jerseys, it’s one of the only spaces the “big four” professional American leagues won’t advertise on.

Alternatively, LED textiles could display player statistics on their jerseys so fans can peek at the data without doing additional research.

4. LED visibility outfits

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When the weather’s bad, it’s not just moisture that makes sporting events unpleasant: bad visibility can be physically dangerous for players and bothersome for fans. High-visibility textiles, which light up in bad weather, could remedy this issue.

Though some kinds of high-visibility gear already exists, even the brightest neons won’t be of much use at night in the rain. Apparel embedded with flexible LED technology would be the ideal solution, but only if it can be powered effectively without adding extra weight.

5. Built in generators

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So how are the sports outfits of the future powered? Since clunky batteries would weigh down wearable electronics, the best solution may be battery-free: specifically, outfits could be charged with kinetic energy generated by the players’ movements.

There are a number of wearable electronics that are self-powering, some through body heat, others through body movement or even human blood. For athletes, running and jumping could someday be efficient enough to power at least some of their high-tech wearables.

6. Impact visualizers


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Lastly, here’s one type of wearable that is already making waves in American football: the impact visualizer, which (in this design) changes colors when a player takes a hit. An outfit with this kind of tech built in could flash green, amber, or red to alert referees and doctors when a player needs medical attention or a break.

Impact sensors have already been embedded into helmets, mouth guards and chin straps to measure the force and duration of collisions players endure. The hope is that recognizing severe impacts right when they occur can help athletes get treated as soon as possible, minimize suffering and long-term side effects, and prevent further dangerous incidents.

Oct 21

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Sports and tech continue towards a mutually beneficial future. A recent CIO profile revealed how some sports organizations are furthering the bonds between sport and tech.

The partnership between the two sectors finds sports organizations bringing startups into events like pitch competitions where the clubs seek out bright potential that harnesses the sporting experience as well. By jumping on the bandwagon, these clubs are making it clear that the game embraces tech well beyond the recent uptick in analytics and sports health–a stark change in direction from the current landscape that finds most organizations lacking the adequate IT infrastructure needed to enter the next generation.

CIO noted some exciting ventures that include the Los Angeles Dodgers Accelerator program and the Cleveland Cavalier’s new CavsEats mobile app that allows fans to order food from concession stands without missing a second on the court. Both rollouts signify huge gains for both sport and tech. While the Dodgers are embracing the large-scale approach to finding its next big venture, the Cavaliers honed in on just one or two startups to begin its process.

Fans should expect to see further integration amongst the two sectors in the coming years. Just like any sporting team or startup looking to be the leader in its field, constant innovation is required. With tech now firmly entrenched in player and fan experiences, we may be seeing the dawn of a new sporting era for all parties involved.

Oct 12

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This is the age of Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram and Snapchat just to name a few. Or, the new way to watch your team’s play even when you can’t.

Thanks to social media, if you miss a big game you can now go on Twitter for an up-to-the-minute highlights or even get a game report from multiple fan perspectives. Platforms such as Instagram will give you the behind-the-scenes information you can’t find anywhere else. Whether you like it or not, social media is the place for die-hard sports watchers to go to these days.

Creating a voice for teams that is consistent with the overall team brand as well as fans is something social media coordinators have to do every day.  “It’s the social media coordinators who are responsible for finding that nexus of humor, truth, and branding,” according to the Complex Magazine article.

Complex Magazine zeroed in on the single-handed and sometimes dual presence that drives the witty social media presence behind NBA teams such as the Brooklyn Nets, the Philadelphia 76ers and the Atlanta Hawks. Some, like the Nets and Sixers, notched many more wins in the social sphere than they ever did on the court.

Complex delved deeper with a profile on the daily lives of social media coordinators who work for The Brooklyn Nets and The Philadelphia 76ers.

It seems as if the teams who have great standings are the only teams who play nicely on social media–they simply can’t take the risk. Teams like the Nets and the 76ers, on the other hand, are encouraged to draw outside the proverbial box as much as possible since neither have top standing.

For the Nets, Sixers and even successful Hawks it seems the secret to a slam dunk is crafting a witty, clever tweet that lands at the right time.

Being empathetic with your fan base is what the 76ers social media crew does exceptionally well. They have adopted the ‘if you can’t beat em…join em’ attitude in regards to their team. This is a creative approach for a franchise that has spent years at the bottom of the NBA standings during a years-long rebuild that has featured two of their #1 draft picks spending their first season on the sidelines with injuries.

Social media highlights for the Nets’ season include capturing moments fans would not have had access to otherwise—shots taken at practice, locker room, pressroom and keeping tweets witty yet aligned with their stylish image.

The Atlanta Hawks made a splash on social media when it had a groundbreaking, interactive ‘Swipe Right’ Tinder night where basketball fans were able to combine love and basketball in one quarter. Matches could meet in lounges filled with Altoids and roses.

All of these teams seem to make waves with mash-up’s that infuse their teams and players with witty pop culture references. The NBA social media coordinators also interact with fans, rival teams while, above all, making sure that they are still brand appropriate.

Reshares, retweets any and all forms of social media attention can help boost sales, merchandise and everything else NBA related.

Sep 18

Artist: Zabou, Chance Street, Shoreditch, London

Artist: Zabou, Chance Street, Shoreditch, London

Athletes are a commodity. Their performance, training methods and even downtime has become more detailed science than athletic artistry. With wearable and data technologies, sports are showing a rise in audience interaction and a lowered expectation of privacy for players. Some of them are beginning to feel more like lab cases than athletes.

Brian Bulcke, a defensive lineman in the Canadian Football League, says, “I feel like a guinea pig sometimes when we talk about athletes and technology, and I stress that we’re people too.” Bulcke continues, “We’re professionals, so I think the respect line on privacy, security and all that kind of stuff needs to be maintained in athleticism, despite being entertainment.”

Because the Canadian lineman works as a business development lead for a program that mentors tech companies at Ryerson University in Toronto during off-season, he can speak directly to both sides of the struggle. Part engineer, part athlete, Bulcke is attempting to develop tech that takes the ‘guinea pig equation’ out of the locker room. However, he believes it will ultimately come down to athletes playing a more active role in the conversation about the ubiquitous uprising of tech in sports.

“It’s the athletes and the people on the frontlines that will help define the industry. We’re the early adopters but we’re also a megaphone for the rest of the athletes in the market,” adds Bulcke. “Over the years we’ll see more and more athletes permeate into the wearables space.”

His advice is for players to give pushback if the lines between personal and professional tracking becomes muddy.

“I do think there’s a line there, and we focus purely on when you’re at the workplace, and the workplace for athletes is when you’re practicing or playing games or doing rehab and assessments,” said Brian Kopp, president of the North American division of Catapult, an Australian company whose wearable devices are used in major league teams in the NFL, NHL, MLB, NBA and college-level sports programs. “When you go home and you’re doing whatever on your own time, you’re not wearing our device […]”.

But what is most disconcerting to athletes? The more metrics and tracking big-data algorithms, the higher the likelihood for negative salary negotiations based on performance data during very specific training sessions. In other words, players aren’t allowed bad days — big data is always watching and recording. Sports fans have very little sympathy. According to a portion of fans, players as entertainers who make inordinate salaries; if tracking enhances the audience experience, it’s justified.

“The insights that come from the data that evolve and advance the story and make the game potentially more interesting for fans – that’s where I see one of the big opportunity areas, and we’re already starting to see that,” says Stacey Burr, vice-president and general manager of Adidas’s digital sports business unit. “I don’t know how that whole world works, to be honest with you; we’re just providing facts and figures, and I think there’s somebody else that has a set of mental models that they use in terms of what the future opportunities are for individual players.”

Wearable technology continues to generate massive global revenue for sports, fitness and activity monitors. As the wearable tech industry is expected to grow from $1.9bn in 2013 to $2.8bn in 2019 (according to analytics firm IHS), the sports tech versus privacy subject will most likely heat up as well.

Sep 9

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The social media celebrity has killed the traditional sports marketing agent. That’s at least what marketer Evan Morgenstein recently told Forbes. Morgenstein believes that, ”The athlete market is dead. Sports agents are losing so many deals that they used to get as full endorsement deals to ‘celebrities’ just willing to lend themselves on social media. [There is] no need for appearances or traditional advertising.”

Morgenstein holds the sentiment so true that he’s abandoned professional athlete marketing for the “social media celebrities” that cut into his former sector.

Though most athletes should expect lesser endorsement payouts in the coming years, Morgenstein believes that the top athletes can still expect even higher payouts–like Houston Rocket’s James Harden’s recent $200 million deal with Adidas. However, to achieve these types of deals a player should expect to not only produce on the court, but also on social media. Figures like points per game and jerseys sold matter just as much to a marketer as does the athlete’s social media following.

“The first question asked by PR people is, what’s your social media numbers? What’s your engagement numbers? What kind of sell-through are you getting? These are the questions that sports agents never had to answer in the past,” Morgenstein elaborated to Forbes.

As social media continues its further immersion into the fabric of our lives, it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise to see this sort of shift. Social media represents a significant pulse for fans and athletes. Just as sports has embraced analytics, so too has its advertisers. Certainly, the social media celebrity may eventually burst, but for now, it continues to grow as some athlete endorsements lose air.

Jul 23

via Penn State/Flickr Creative Commons

via Penn State/Flickr Creative Commons

 

Between Golden State’s Klay Thompson’s concussion during Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals and the gut wrenching head-to-head collision between Morgan Brian and Alexandra Popp during their Women’s World Cup match, concussions are once again at sport’s forefront.

These injuries serve as a reminder that it isn’t just the traditional warrior-esque sports facing protocol and safety revisions. While Brian’s injury proved to not be a concussion, similar incidents like the collision of Chelsea’s Oscar with Arsenal’s David Ospina earlier this season left fans with jarring reminders that player safety needs optimization in all sports.

While the soccer world is championing a revised substitution policy that protects players while leaving the game’s three substitution rule in place, several college football teams adopted a new measure to gauge the severity of blows to a player’s head that will take effect next season.

Wearable tech company i1 Biometrics will soon provide college football programs with its new real-time cranial data gathering technology. Programs signing on include Texas A&M and South Carolina. The technology is able to collect player’s impact data through wearable sensors that is then sent to a mobile device operated by team doctors. While i1’s doesn’t diagnose a concussion, the data indicates the severity and location of a player’s head injury.

In short, i1 believes that, “…our state-of-the-art mouthguard is transmitting real-time information, allowing real-time decisions about a players’ ability to continue on the field. It’s the first solution to be inside the player’s head to protect them from the inside out.”

Currently, i1’s sensors go into a player’s helmet or mouthguard. However, that will soon change when they soon roll out their product in headband form. Though slated for basketball players, this could prove useful to other sports like soccer. With all hope, real-time data like this will help sports that aren’t as impact-heavy to catch up the evolving landscape of their sport as well.