MEMS in sports is not a new idea. Years ago, Freescale began demonstrating how MEMS could help analyze and improve golf swings by retrofitting accelerometers in the shaft of a golf club. Check out this 2007 video clip from Freescale. Since then, I’ve seen an increasing number of examples of MEMS in sports; not just in demos, but in actual products.
Like many things in high tech, good design has spurred the adoption and application of MEMS in sports. While hosting the first MEMS TechZone at CES last month, I saw another compelling example of MEMS-enabled sports from the guys at Diesel Dogs, as they were our booth-buddies and part of Freescale’s exhibit. Diesel Dogs has partnered with Freescale to develop Bluetooth Smart Weights, MEMS-enabled barbells that relay the movements of weights to an Android application. Diesel Dogs’s Smart Weights could be used for people who want to optimize their weight training workout. This is the kind of MEMS in sports that can help me become a smarter athlete.
Thanks to the lower price point of MEMS devices (including accelerometers, gyroscopes, and microphones), we are seeing an increase in the adoption and integration of MEMS in sports. This is such a hot topic that MEMS Industry Group (MIG) -- a partner of Sensors in Design (part of Design West Summit) -- will showcase MEMS in sports at next month’s conference.
“MEMS in Sports” will feature four not-to-be-missed presentations. Two of them, from Syride and R0R3 Devices, were such hits at MIG’s Technology Showcase at the MEMS Executive Congress in November, that I asked them to join me at Sensors in Design.
Syride focuses its MEMS in sports on surfing. Syride’s MEMS-enabled Sys-Evo -- a lightweight yet durable device that mounts onto a surfboard -- gives surfers information on wave height, speed, ride time, distance paddled, and calories used, essentially making them "smarter" surfers.
R0R3 Devices has designed a heart rate monitor (HRM) wristband that is way more comfortable than the typical chest band for monitoring your heart rate while exercising. It uses MEMS accelerometers to sense the motion of the person wearing it. The R0R3 Devices’ HRM interacts elegantly with standard oximetry sensors to facilitate more precise measurements.