April 7, 2017 >
By Max Retting
You’re on the football field, and you collide helmet-to-helmet with a defending player. As you absorb the shock of the play, a coin-sized sensor in your helmet sends real-time data to the coach, who can monitor your condition.
That device is a small, lightweight, plastic detector called the Cue Sport Sensor from Athlete Intelligence — formerly i1 Biometrics — a company that was founded to make products with athlete safety front of mind. The sensor is designed for versatility: It uses radio and Bluetooth to transmit data, can be used online or offline, and not only sends information on athlete safety, such as hits to the head in football or rugby, but also athlete performance.
The Cue, in a way, was born out of the limitations of Athlete Intelligence’s previous device, a mouth guard with safety sensors. “Based upon the form and the design, it was limited to helmeted cage sports,” Athlete Intelligence CEO Jesse Harper said, “and there’s so much interest right now in non-helmeted sports…we wanted to participate in that space, which is why we developed the Cue Sport Sensor.”
The product’s most notable feature, perhaps, is what Harper calls coachable moments. Coaches can use the information from the device not only to detect injuries to athletes, but also to pick up on players who might be risking injury with their techniques or habits in practice and games. Harper, a former multi-sport player himself who has suffered multiple concussions, said the safety aspect is personal.
“We love sports, and it’s challenging and disheartening right now that youth participation in sports is decreasing, and it’s partly because parents are scared,” Harper said. “We looked at that and said, ‘As an industry, we need to do a better job.’”