7 Olympic technologies to help the athlete in you go higher, faster, better, stronger

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7 Olympic technologies to help the athlete in you go higher, faster, better, stronger

Many American Olympic athletes are using cutting-edge technology like motion tracking systems, wearable jump monitors and Doppler radar to help them jump higher and go farther before hitting Rio this August 5 for the Summer Games — and so can you!

So fasten your joggers and come along as we take a look at the technology our Olympians are using to help them go for the gold.



VERT is a tiny jump monitor the U.S. women’s volleyball team is using while training for Rio. Players wear the device around their waists to help prevent injuries and to calculate their jump heights and counts, blasting real-time data to an accompanying app.

When coaches feel like their players are towing the line of hard training and overuse, they’ll give that player a breather.

Click here to read more about how the volleyball team uses VERT.

Photo by Elsa/Getty Images



As the official mobility partner of the U.S. Olympic Committee, BMW created a customized motion tracking system for USA Swimming. Part of that system includes BMW’s new “taillight” solution, which attaches LEDs onto swimmers’ wrists, shoulders, hips, knees, ankles and toes.

An underwater camera interacts with the motion tracking technology, allowing coaches to analyze a swimmers’ dolphin kick movement by movement via BMW software. To read more about this technology, click here.


IBM Watson

When the women’s pursuit team of USA Cycling approached IBM last October, it was looking to speed up its training analysis and convert it into a mobile-enabled, real-time system.

IBM gave the team a wheel up by packing an Android phone in cyclists’ pockets and gathering all data points from multiple sources — including power meters, a wearable BSX muscle oxygenation sensor and heart rate monitor.

“We collect that information while they’re training and send it up to the cloud to the Watson IoT platform,” IBM fellow and VP of emerging Internet technologies Rod Smith said. “It’s then analyzed and sent back down from the cloud to the coaches’ iPad to a dashboard so they could see how the team and each individual is doing.”

Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images



When it comes to the shot put or hammer throw events in track and field, athletes want to know every bit of analysis about their technique. USA Track and Field achieved this by deploying the Trackman device, which uses Doppler radar to track the flight of a shot put or hammer throw in real time.

It’s often used for golf swings, but Trackman also works with the shot put and hammer throw by scanning such things as release velocity, release angle, release height, and exactly where the throw lands. That information pops up on the Trackman’s user interface and also a tablet sync via Bluetooth.

The device also has built-in WiFi and an internal camera with the ability to connect up to six external cameras for more angles and also records shot put attempts and hammer throws. Videos immediately upload to the cloud to help coaches tweak athletes’ techniques quickly and throughout practices.

Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images


Dr. Ralph Mann’s Biomechanics Model

In sprinting and hurdles, a fraction of a percent in improved performance could spell the difference between winning a gold medal and failing to make the final round.

That could explain why USA Track and Field relies on Dr. Ralph Mann’s Biomechanics Model for sprinters and hurdlers … but with a twist. The team takes Dr. Ralph’s stick figure with perfect sprinting and hurdling form and overlays it right over its sprinters’ and hurdlers’ bodies via real-time video technology.

“It gives the coach and athlete the feedback visual on where their body positions are to what they should be in this model,” USA Track and Field’s associate director of sports science and medicine Robert Chapman explained.

Photo by Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images



In working with the wrestling team, USA Wrestling coach Matt Lindland recognized that some of his athletes were struggling with their sleep and relaxation, while others faced anxiety and perhaps even depression issues.

So, on the recommendation of a friend he had the team try Brain.fm, AI neuroscience software which composes calming music specifically made for the brain to improve focus, relaxation and sleep.

Essentially, it’s audio brainwave training to help wrestlers zone out after grueling practice sessions. The renowned wrestling coach even credits the technology for getting wrestler Robby Smith off of melatonin.

Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post via Getty Images



Olympic swimmer Conner Jaeger uses an app called WHOOP to keep him updated on his vitals. He says the tech told him to arrive a few days early to recover from traveling stress in order to perform at his best during the Omaha Olympic trials. The app seemed to be spot on. Conner will be competing in Rio.

Other athletes swimming on team USA at the 2016 Olympics – including Michael Phelps and Allison Schmitt — have also reportedly been using the app to help perform at their best.

Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images