As countless coaches have advised their athletes, often the best way to improve technique is to break things down into one movement at a time.
A new T-shirt that measures muscle output could take this strategy to the extreme. The shirt, which is embedded with small sensors, enables athletes to find out which muscles they're using at different moments, and how hard. The invention is part of the ConText Project.
The shirt's sensors are made from silver-coated thread printed onto the fabric like a logo. While being worn, the shirt can measure the electrical activity of muscle contractions, which correlate to how the athlete is moving their body, such as their tennis or golf swing.
The electric field generated by the muscles creates a charge in the T-shirt sensors, which is sent along small wires to a circuit board in the shirt. The circuit board amplifies the charge and sends it wirelessly to a computer for analysis.
The computer then displays exactly which muscles are being used during a particular movement, which athletes can use to improve their technique and use their strength in optimal ways. The researchers tested the T-shirt on hockey players with positive results.
The device could also help prevent injury from improper technique or overuse, by detecting when a muscle is being overworked. It could also be used to more accurately measure how many calories an athlete burns during their workout.
via: New Scientist