CES: Sports tech takes center stage
Sports technology took center stage at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show. Exhibitions featured everything from customized wearable technology to virtual reality software and tracking devices to help enhance performance.
Commissioners from both the MLB and NBA were at CES to discuss how high tech the sports world has become.
"These are very different times. Fans have never been closer to the game than they are now," said MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred. "We are changing and there will be continued evolution … to me, the larger issue is what fans want is to not just watch the game. They have another device going and social media is an opportunity to provide our fans with that access.”
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Sports giant Under Armour introduced a host of new gadgets - including a $400 HealthBox. Designed with phone manufacturer HTC, the connected system analyzes things like sleep patterns and keeps track of fitness goals.
But many of the next big things in sports tech are coming from companies you may not have heard of. Here are three products we spotted on the show floor that could keep you in the game:
The Easton Power Sensor is the perfect gadget for the baseball or softball player in your life. Developed with motion technology company Blast Motion, the tiny sensor slips over the handle end of any baseball or softball bat. Weighing just 7.7 grams, the sensor has been designed to capture accurate swing metrics to let you know how you’re hitting the ball. The Easton Power Sensor uses Bluetooth technology to capture and store tons of 3D data, such as time to contact, swing speed, energy transfer, bat path, power, and overall efficiency. In the end, the user gets what’s called a “Blast Factor”. That’s essentially a score of 1-100 that tells a player where they’re excelling and where they need to improve. Blast Motion’s Senior Director of Marketing Donovan Prostrollo says the sensor is for all levels.
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“The cool thing is we have designed it to be so simple enough that your little leaguer can use it- but it’s accurate enough that your pro player can use it before a game,” he said.
The Easton Power Sensor is on sale for $149.95.
2. DIGITSOLE WARM SERIES SOLES
Ideal for those who enjoy outdoor sports like hunting and skiing, the Digitsole is one of the few wearable technologies that gives you total wireless control.
“It is a bluetooth enabled, app driven fitness tracker that warms your feet,” said Digitsole representative Bill Davis. “It’s unique because it combines things that other technologies just don’t.”
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The Warm Series by Digitsole comes with a built-in thermostat you can control from your smartphone, as well as an activity tracker that can inform you of distance traveled and calories burned. Digitsole Warm Series soles retail for $199.
Kawaii’s 3D Massage Chair can help an athlete looking to unwind after a big game. The massive leather massager features hip rotating functions and even has LG technology built right in. The chair is full body - meaning every single part of the body from head to toe is engaged in the pulsing and kneading goodness.
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The chair can even massage athletes’ feet. “You slip your feet inside like it’s a shoe and it’s going to massage the top, bottom and the back Achilles of your foot, ” said Kawaii representative Jessica Lee.
The chair retails for around $8,000.