Wearable technology has finally hit the big leagues. Three engineering students from Northeastern University have developed a “data-logging” compression shirt that helps baseball pitchers avoid torn ligaments. The high-tech sheath, which is fitted with motion sensors and a web of conductive threads, tracks its wearer’s pitching mechanics during a game in real time, then relays that data to a monitor in the dugout. By analyzing the information, coaches can spot inconsistencies that could result in injury, whether as a result of fatigue or poor technique.
AN OUNCE OF PREVENTION
A tear in the labrum, or the ring of cartilage that cushions the shoulder socket from kinetic forces, can ruin a pitcher’s career. It’s also a common occupational hazard, resulting in upwards of $54 million in salary losses each year. The e-textile garment, which the students say can be made for under $200, makes it easier to pinpoint the precise moment a pitcher’s mechanics begin to falter.
Torn ligaments from pitching injuries result in upwards of $54 million in salaries each year.
“No single device for measuring the quality of pitching mechanics currently exists,” says Marcus Moche, one of the designers. “So we have proposed a shirt that is lightweight and can be worn during bullpen sessions or exhibition games.”