Collegiate and professional American football fans probably know that this past weekend was the NFL Scouting Combine, a week-long event in which NFL prospects undergo a series of tests and drills to assess their performance in front of NFL coaches and staff. These prospects know that the results of the NFL Combine will affect their place in the NFL Draft in April, so it’s important that they perform their very best.
To help players, their trainers, and NFL staff measure athletic performance, Under Armour has released a new compression shirt, which debuted at the NFL Combine.
In addition to Under Armour’s proprietary fabric that wicks away moisture, the shirt contains electronic sensors that measure heart and breathing rates and skin-surface temperature, and a triaxial accelerometer to measure force and direction. The accelerometer is contained in a “bug”, a removable sensor pack that’s placed on the sternum and looks something like Iron Man’s arc reactor. The bug communicates with the other sensors in the shirt, and sends out all the data via Bluetooth. The bug also contains 2 gigabytes of storage and a central processor to handle all the information. According to the NFL, the sensor pack, developed by Maryland-based Zephyr Technology, has been used by United States Army Special Forces, and were given to the trapped Chilean miners to monitor their vitals.
NFL Combine participants are especially excited by the ability to measure acceleration, or “g-forces.” These forces correspond closely with an athlete’s speed, power, and momentum, and had not been closely measured until now. According to NFL Combine video coverage, some of the players are reaching accelerations close to 9 g’s, about what an F-16 jet fighter can handle.
Check out Under Armour’s introduction to their newest performance shirt, the E39:
Article and video from NFL.com: Technology in a T-shirt? Only in pro sports…
Press release from Zephyr Technology (PDF): UNDER ARMOUR POWERS NFL SCOUTING COMBINE WITH ZEPHYR TECHNOLOGY… (.pdf)
(Hat tip: Engadget)