For top athletes, the devil is in the detail – not pushing off fully with your toes, your foot landing in the wrong location, unequal weight distribution between the feet. A series of seemingly small refinements can make a big difference to athletic performance. However, a coach or sports scientist needs to base their advice on accurate data.
Danu Sports had an ambitious idea for how to measure and analyse an athlete’s gait during activity, and partnered with Design Partners, who specialise in wearables design, to explore: Can we utilise wearable technology to help athletes maximise athletic ability and reduce injury occurrence and rehabilitation time?
The team took up the challenge by developing an innovative smart system that empowers athletes and coaches with scientifically validated gait analysis in any environment, at any time. It’s a revolutionary approach to optimising athletic performance.
After researching the detailed needs of athletes and studying how a wearable solution could fit into their daily training routines, the team created a smart layer with 15 pressure sensors that cover the entire sole of the foot, enabling it to collect data on precisely where and how a person is landing. The sensors can prevent injury and re-injury by monitoring lower-limb load, measuring on-field imbalance, analysing gait, quantifying fatigue and tracking rehab progress.
The tracks from the sensors are integrated into an athlete’s sports-sock and run up to a pod located above the malleolus bone, there the IMU pod clips into it and can be taken out to charge. Using algorithms and a very clear UI, a sports scientist or coach can take the data and use it in a precise and targeted way to help enhance the performance of athletes or teams of athletes, in real-time, without wading through streams of spreadsheets.
As well as providing exceptional analytics, the sports-sock needed to incorporate different knitted structures for stretchability, breathability and to allow the pins from the inner layer to go through the material without needing to break or cut it. It also needed to fit into the athlete or coach’s lifestyle and be easily washable, like the rest of their sports gear. The team’s iterative prototyping process enabled all those issues to be resolved in a holistic, effortless solution.
By combining Danu Sports’ vision and sports know-how with Design Partners’ expertise in wearables and knowledge of high-performance sectors, we have brought something truly unique to the market. This is a functioning sports wearable that fits seamlessly into an athlete’s life, whilst incorporating the advanced technology needed to deliver vital data. By overcoming the significant technical challenges involved, we have enabled athletes to focus on performing to their full potential.
Get in touch Great innovation is achieved through collaboration. We would love to hear about your business & creative challenges and how we can help you create innovative, new product experiences.