We have seen many devices and applications for hiking, running, cycling, … Activities that can be monitored using « easy » data to track such as time, distance, heart rate, … Activities where the sensors don’t spoil the experience.But what about sports where performance is more complicated to track? Sports where physical constraints are so strong that including sensors becomes tricky?There is a kind of mental algorithm when you design such products: Data benefit VS User effort VS Price

When I worked on the connected racket application for Babolat, I was convinced that we should include a way to track the score. Doing so, we could analyze the wining rate of each type of shot. But we simply decided to skip this feature, because we didn’t resolve how to do it without bothering the tennis player.

Now lets talk about a more complicated sport, one with many physical constraints and several performance indicators: Mixed Martial Arts.
What is MMA ? It’s a fighting sport where almost all techniques are allowed. So in competitions such as the famous UFC, combats are pretty rough. But for most practitioners, like me, we don’t play at this level of violence, even if the training pushes our body very hard.In this sport, there are 3 goals :
  • knock out your opponent (but in the training that’s not feasible)
  • do a successful submission = the opponent taps you to signal he gives up
  • score the highest number of hits or take downs

These goals are achieved thanks to a good stamina, power, rapidity and precision, and a strong defense.



That maybe the easiest data to collect, using a heart rate monitor in the t-shirt like the OMsignal, except it would have to be reinforced to endure the hits and padded not to break the ribs.



A well executed combination that hits at the right place by overpassing the opponent’s guard is better than a powerful hit that doesn’t have any impact. That said, it’s still interesting to know how powerful your hits are after 5 minutes of rumble.
Impact and position sensors in gloves seem to do the job. The Striketec system records the impact level and type of punch executed. It even provides the fighters activity on live event.

For MMA it would require the same technology for legs. But it’s not that easy since more body parts are used to hit (knee, tibia, foot, talon).



A coach of mine once told me that dodging was the best defense. So ideally, your goal is to receive the least amount of hits. The dodging capacity could only be determined if the other fighter has the same system and that datas are shared. So an opponent’s attack with no impact identified would mean a successful dodging.
Reebok created a sensor that alerts when a shock received to the head is too strong, and medical attention is required for an MRI.
Shock sensors are, in my point of view, too complicated to manage, since there are many shocks that are not related to an opponent hit.



Another interesting piece of data would be the number of take downs (when you make the opponent fall) done or undergone. But even the sensor could determine if the body is standing or on the floor, this data is hard to get.The submission record could be done afterwards, directly on the app.



I think the ideal solution would be a product with several layers, that are hidden.First would be the simple use of the app, to film and get slow motion videos, this sorting, tagging, a calendar and even social features.Then, if the user buy an ecosystem of accessories:
  • a t-shirt that tracks motions and heart rate
  • gloves that track motions and impact level
  • leg gears that track motions and impact level

All the data gathered would be display independently and would be time-stamped in the video.
For example you could see where the most powerful low kick has been done, or distinguish part of the footage where the fight is on the floor…

The user experience of such a product would have to be fun and gamified. We could even imagine an interactive training in front of a TV screen. The user would fight against a recorded fighter or someone even who plays remotely… So what do you think? Which favorite sport tracking system matches your expectations?


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1 Comment

  1. 16 June 2015 at 14 h 45 min — Reply

    Excellent way of telling, and nice post to get information regarding my presentation topic,
    which i am going to deliver in college.

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