FROM PERFORMANCE TO technique
In a paper published three years ago, a computer scientist and a researcher of game design investigated the development and trends in technologies used for run training. Mads Moller Jense and Floyd Mueller found that they are changing from focusing solely on performance to having an additional focus on the technique. Their research indicates where technology is likely to grow.
Today, wearable sensors (i.e. Sensoria’s sock-worn sensors or smart shoes like UA’s hovr Sonic, Altra and Nike+ Training connected to MapMyRun) and motion detection make it possible to profile running styles, identify opportunities for improvements, monitor pace and recognize fatigue indicators. Tomorrow, the runner may receive personalized and immediate coaching (and
“REMEMBER THAT YOU CONTROL YOUR DEVICES. THEY SHOULDN’ T CONTROL YOU .”
a chip that will tell you when it’s time to buy new shoes).
Today’s technique-related parameters are primarily made available to runners after their run, so it is hard for runners to adjust their running style in real time. Jense and Mueller suggest technology can work to create assistive interfaces, which are systems that assist runners in real-time movements as they are executed, such as a excessive arm movements.
These types of products are already on market, such as Lumo, the portable running coach, and the assistive technology Aira, which connects the blind or whose with low vision to a sighted professional agent who delivers visual assistance. In 2017, a legally blind runner completed his eighth Boston Marathon. In addition to his sighted guide running partner, the runner used Aira and wore a pair of Google Glasses that sent a live feed to an agent over 900 kilometres away who coached him through a Bluetooth headset.
Companies like Solos and Everysight are designing smart glasses for sighted athletes and exploring the intersectionalit y with artif icial reality. It will be interesting to see what evolves for the runner once they are discreet and light enough.
Jense and Mueller say the technology of tomorrow will model run coaches with personalized and technique-focused, training feedback systems during runs. Artificial Intelligence products like LifeBeam Vi are already offering this with bio-sensing earbuds and live coaching.
Shoe designers like Bret Schoolmeester of Nike say the company is looking at how shoes can reveal useful truths about how we run – like telling us if we are heel, forefoot or midfoot strikers, since runners have a terrible track record to self diagnose correctly.
Look out for more responsive products – like Netf lix and Spotify for runners – with target guidance and suggestions based on actual performance and not false self awareness.
OPPOSITE, RIGHT AND BELOW At the Canadian Sports Institute, using sensors on shoes to mine biomechanic run data RIGHT BOTTOM Everysight Raptor sunglasses offer a heads up display with realtime run metrics and navigation