While growing up, the most advanced technology we used in our athletic endeavors was a stopwatch. But in the new age of ubiquitous connectivity, sports equipment embedded with digital tools is becoming de rigueur. From putting solo athletes into online competitions to acting as virtual trainers, the new generation of sports products and gear has changed the playing field forever.
Nokia Push Burton Collaboration
: Nokia’s Push
project has been incubating technology in areas as disparate as skateboarding
and kite aerial photography since September 2009. Next year, Nokia Push will team up with Burton Snowboards
to launch a new genre of connected snowboarding
in a manner similar to its earlier skateboarding experiment
. The Push Burton partnership will converge online gaming with real life through sensor-equipped snowboards that collect motion data about the boarder’s movements and tricks. The data collected then will be transmitted wirelessly to the rider’s mobile phone, where it will be analyzed, scored, and tracked in the game. From now until the alpha launch at January’s Burton European Open
, Push will post videos updating the development process regularly. Start perfecting your ollies now.
The Social Bicycle System
: The U.S. has yet to fully embrace bike sharing programs
, but forward-thinking advancements that aim to foster the practice continue to arise. One example is The Social Bicycle System, one of the first if its kind to have tracking, authorization, and security capabilities embedded directly into bikes. The system employs mobile communications, GPS and a secure lock in a way that can render almost any bike part of a sharing program. Because it doesn’t require a separate infrastructure like standard public bike sharing systems, it lowers costs by almost two-thirds. The best part? Sharers will be able to locate and unlock bikes using their mobile phones. Look out, New Yorkers
—it’s scheduled to debut in the city any day now.
: Adidas’ answer to Nike+
, miCoach is a fitness activity tracking system
that includes a heart rate monitor, a stride sensor, and an online workout manager, all of which run on a GPS-equipped phone. The result is an online repository of charted personal data that not only fulfills users’ thirst for infographics
, but also recommends the proper workout plans to keep them on the path to cardio nirvana. What’s more, runners can employ miCoach to ‘coach’ them while in the midst of working out, since voice cues gently command them to speed up when necessary, and then offer congratulations (and the number of calories burned) once one’s goals are met. Blisters and shin splints aside, maybe marathon training wouldn’t be too bad with this thing as a guide.