SAP recently held a panel session about how technology in sport can improve a player’s performance and prevent injuries by providing them with sensory feedback based on real-time data analysis of their bodies.
Panelist Dr. Eduard Rene Ferdinands, a cricket biomechanics researcher at the University of Sydney, discussed how athletes, fitted with wearable sensors, could be provided sensory feedback on factors such as movement, sleep, nutrition and psychological state, and how these factors impact their performance.
Using real-time technologies, for this example demonstrated with a proof of concept application powered by SAPs HANA software, coaches or physiotherapists could receive predictive data on a player’s condition while they are training or competing, enabling a more immediate action or decision to take place.
Australian fast bowler Shaun Tait said such technology would mean sportspeople would no longer have to retire due to injury.
“Sometimes you can feel you just need a day off but explaining that to the hierarchy can be difficult… This data would provide the facts,” Tait said.
“Those who don’t get on board will simply get left behind,” Ferdinands said.
The discussion also touched on how this type of technology would impact an individual when applied to other aspects of life such as healthcare.
Irfan Kahn, chief technology officer at SAP global customer operations, said smartphones and Fitbits are just the tip of the iceberg.
“Sensors will be able to tell us precisely what is happening… to make the preventative case much more stronger”, he said, suggesting doctor’s checkups in the future could even become redundant with the right technology.
As well as providing preventative measures for healthy people, a more advanced technology catered to the individual could also benefit many more who suffer from illness or disease.
“If I knew for a fact, as a diabetic, that the insulin administration I deal with could be offset by having a sensor that I put on my abdomen which constantly gives me my blood sugar levels, then I would be prepared to do that,” he said.
Kahn said such technologies do currently challenge some ethical boundaries but he expects that it will eventually become widely adopted because “it’s the human psyche – people want to do such things.”
“I suspect there will be a large majority of people who want to put themselves out there and have much more embedded sensors within their body so that the human endeavor could actually be enhanced and more advanced,” he said.
The writer was a guest of SAP.