| Rob Lever |
LAS VEGAS (AFP) – Olympic cycling medalist Dotsie Bausch is hooked on data, and she wants everyone to know it.
Showing up at this week’s Consumer Electronics Show as a spokeswoman for the medical technology group Masimo, Bausch offered a demonstration of her cycling skills and the data she uses to train.
Getting good physiological data for training is important in a sport marred by numerous doping scandals, said the 2012 Olympic silver medalist who kicked a drug habit before her sports career.
“I don’t dope because I don’t want to cheat. But you want to use every fair-game device available,” she said following the demonstration using Masimo’s fingertip monitor for oxygen saturation and pulse rate using infrared sensors.
“The goal is to get the most out of a workout and still recover so you can do it the next day.”
Masimo spokesman said the systems use “a hospital-grade device which we have brought to the consumer.”
One of the big themes at this year’s Las Vegas event was the marriage of technology and sports. The Consumer Electronics Association, which organises the show, estimates Americans alone will spend $1.8 billion on fitness and activity trackers this year.
But CES exhibitors were showing off devices and services that go far beyond the simple fitness band.
Unveiled at the show, the AmpStrip by US-based Fitlinxx is a patch that sticks to the body for anywhere from three to seven days and measures heart rate, activity and stress.
“It was designed as an aid to fitness enthusiasts,” said Fitlinxx’s Doug McClure.
“The need has to do with understanding how you are training. Overtraining leads to injury. By wearing this 24/7 we can understand how much stress your body is under.”
Garments meanwhile are also being developed with these same sensors, woven into the fabric, eliminating the need for other kinds of wearable activity trackers.
“The next hot wearable is the shirt,” said Ramon Llamas, analyst with the research firm IDC. “It’s a wearable that’s already wearable, and it’s useful for pro athletes or weekend warriors.”
Several activity-monitoring garments were on display at the show including shirts and socks.
British-based development firm Cambridge Consultants showed its connected shirt with sensors woven into the fabric, virtually unseen. The prototype can be adapted for use in sports including tennis or golf.
“There is a large gap between what you can collect with a wrist band and the system that professional athletes have,” said developer Martin Brock.
“With this you can measure one’s motion not just on your wrist but on your entire body.
The thin wire blended into the garment allows it to be “washable, waterproof and robust,” he said.
“It’s reaching toward the idea with wearables where there is no (visible) technology, it’s just the garment.”
French technology firm Cityzen Sciences meanwhile showed its connected shirt, the technology for which will be used by Japan’s Asics in future sportswear.