July 8, 2020

The tech that’s tasked with making sports safer

Some cutting-edge innovations could be the key to getting players back on the fields.

Photo: Jared Wickerham/Getty Images (edit: The Hustle)

How do you reduce contact for… contact sports?

That’s the Catch-22 big-league officials are wrestling with as they try and restart seasons safely. 

While there’s no clear path back — testing delays and player opt-outs have already dampered pro baseball and basketball reopening plans — leagues are experimenting with some creative tech to clear the many, many hurdles.

These innovations could be the MVP

As Wired tells it, here are some of the newest gadgets in the game:

The NBA purchased 2k Oura rings that track players’ sleep levels, heart rates, and activity. The rings can calculate “risk scores” and flag potential COVID-19 symptoms. Oura’s CEO says that so far, half of the NBA’s players have agreed to wear the rings. But some have privacy concerns — one Lakers player tweeted that the monitors “look like a tracking device.” 

Sunglasses manufacturer Oakley is designing a new mask-helmet hybrid for the NFL. The medical director of the NFL Players Association told Wired they’re pushing for masks to include an N95 internal filter to block particles. 

Facial recognition software could be deployed throughout stadiums for contactless concessions and ticket entry. Fans could pre-register and link their credit cards to their images to purchase hot dogs or merchandise. 

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