Science fiction, meet soccer. Soccer, science fiction. Major League Soccer (MLS) just announced a new initiative that could make them the world's most high-tech sports league: they're installing small sensors into the uniforms of all their players to track their movements and their health. The data will be fed back to their coaches in real time for monitoring on an iPad.
The system is called miCoach, and it was created by Adidas. It uses two pieces of monitoring technology to gauge the players' health and movements: a "data cell" that slides into a pocket on the uniform between the shoulder blades, and sensors built into the fabric of the uniform itself that sense the heart rate and other vital signs.
Information provided by miCoach includes health and location, offering coaches a new way to monitor where their players are on the field and how well they're covering the ground, as well as giving them real-time health updates. Whoever holds the monitor will be able to see where the players' heart rates are, and according to Popular Science, it can even measure "basic effort": "When a player claims he's putting in 110 percent, the coach can now consult an app and correct him with the precise actual number".
The first demo of the tech is planned for this coming Wednesday at an MLS game in Philadelphia, with an expected rollout to all players on all 19 teams for the 2013 season.
At the moment, there are no plans to provide the miCoach data to anyone other than coaches. But will it make its way into broadcast commentary in the future? Will fans be able to read the heartrate of their favourite player or try to guess at the outcome of a shootout based on the data from the machine in future? And is this a good idea for the future of sports? Let us know your thoughts in the poll below.
Related stories on Strombo.com: