Football helmets that wobble on impact, protecting the player’s head. A spaceship inspired material that could make sneakers lighter and runners faster. Sensor stickers that could alert athletes to potential illnesses. In laboratories across the country, researchers are working hard to design sports clothing and equipment to improve athletic performance and prevent injury.
“We will see more high-performance equipment that passively adapt to environmental conditions while ensuring the comfort of people,” says Anette “Peko” Hosoi, co-founder of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sports Lab, a sports engineering program created to improve sports performance and safety. by science. “People who think creatively in this space always find a way around the rules.”
Here’s a look at the technology that may one day appear on a track, field, or pool near you.
Add innovation to injuries
Injuries can shrink athletes’ careers, which is why researchers are developing new materials to make equipment like helmets and shoes more effective in preventing them.
After several students at the University of California at Berkeley who suffered head injuries from bicycle accidents, Robert Knight and Ram Gurumoorthy, the founders of the startup BrainGuard, designed a helmet for cyclists and football players that, according to them, provides additional protection against rotational forces or impacts that turn the head.