Orb Smartguard keeps tabs on athletes through their mouths
When it comes to rough sports, it's certainly a good idea for coaches to be able to monitor the performance and well-being of their players. A new device allows them to do so remotely, and it takes the form of a protective mouthguard of the sort that athletes would be wearing anyways.
Known as the Orb Smartguard, the device is manufactured by UK startup Orb Innovations. The company states that the wearable is designed for use in all contact and combat sports.
Like other mouthguards, the EVA-plastic Orb does indeed protect the teeth. That said, it's additionally equipped with multiple sensors along with a microprocessor, Bluetooth module and battery. These allow it to track 20 different performance and activity metrics, with the data being recorded on the device's onboard memory and transmitted in real time to an iOS/Android app on the coach's smartphone or tablet.
More specifically, the device is able to monitor the wearer's heart rate via an optical sensor which uses light to measure changes in the mouth's blood vessels. It's also equipped with an IMU (inertial measurement unit) that detects and measures head impacts, overall movement, and the number of steps run.
The app takes the raw data and processes it to deliver more detailed metrics such as minimum, maximum and average heart rate; location, intensity and number of head impacts; estimated distance travelled; and motion intensity per session. Needless to say, all of this information is saved on the app, so coaches and athletes can track progress over time.
The Orb is custom-shaped for each user via tooth impressions, and should reportedly be good for over four hours of runtime per battery-charge. It's also fully waterproof.
Should you be interested, the device is currently the subject of a Kickstarter campaign. Pledges start at £99 (about US$114), which will get you a single Orb Smartguard in your choice of 10 colors – assuming it reaches production, that is. The planned retail price is £159 ($183). It's demonstrated in the video below.
And perhaps not surprisingly, this isn't the first athlete-monitoring mouthguard we've seen. The FITGuard detects head impacts and actually glows green or red to indicate their severity, while the SMRT Mouth sends alerts if the wearer is becoming dehydrated.
Sources: Kickstarter, Orb Innovations
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