Skip to main content

Smart tracking technology is coming to the NFL

smart tracking technology coming nfl
Image used with permission by copyright holder
From basketball to soccer, technology is having a growing impact on sports across the board. NFL league chiefs are the latest to embrace this brave new world, with plans to install digital tracking chips inside the shoulder pads of every player for the coming season. About the size of a quarter, the RFID (radio-frequency identification) sensors will be able to monitor the position, speed and acceleration of players.

The first to benefit will be television broadcasters, who can incorporate this new mine of data and statistics in their on-screen graphics and game analysis. According to Zebra Technologies, the firm behind the gadgetry, the information could also be relayed to fans via stadium scoreboards or second-screen apps on phones and tablets.

“If we know closing distance of a defender and an offensive guy, you can really know whether that hit would be made or whether he really could’ve made that play,” Jill Stelfox of Zebra Technologies told USA Today. Eventually, the data will be shared with teams and coaches too, but the developers want to test the reliability of the hardware and the accuracy of its results before that happens.

“What you’re going to see is touchpoints that happen throughout the league,” said Vishal Shah, the NFL’s vice president of domestic media and business development. “Certainly, the most comprehensive and impactful might be to the fans themselves. But it’s going to touch areas of our league and give us a deeper understanding of our game.”

17 stadiums are going to be kitted out with the necessary RFID receivers for the coming season: Atlanta, Baltimore, Carolina, Chicago, Cincinnati, Denver, Detroit, Green Bay, Houston, Jacksonville, Miami, New England, New Orleans, Oakland, San Francisco, St. Louis and Washington. The technology is expected to be refined fairly rapidly, too — the planned next generation of chips will be able to detect heart rate, lung capacity and temperature.

David Nield
Dave is a freelance journalist from Manchester in the north-west of England. He's been writing about technology since the…
4 simple pieces of tech that helped me run my first marathon
Garmin Forerunner 955 Solar displaying pace information.

The fitness world is littered with opportunities to buy tech aimed at enhancing your physical performance. No matter your sport of choice or personal goals, there's a deep rabbit hole you can go down. It'll cost plenty of money, but the gains can be marginal -- and can honestly just be a distraction from what you should actually be focused on. Running is certainly susceptible to this.

A few months ago, I ran my first-ever marathon. It was an incredible accomplishment I had no idea I'd ever be able to reach, and it's now going to be the first of many I run in my lifetime. And despite my deep-rooted history in tech, and the endless opportunities for being baited into gearing myself up with every last product to help me get through the marathon, I went with a rather simple approach.

Read more
This bracelet helps you fall asleep faster and sleep longer
woman-in-bed-wearing-twilight-apollo-on-ankle

This content was produced in partnership with Apollo Neuroscience.
Have you been struggling to get the recommended seven hours of sleep? It's always frustrating when you get in bed at a reasonable time, then toss and turn for a hours before you actually sleep. The quality of that sleep is important too. If you're waking up multiple times during the night, you're likely not getting the quality REM cycle sleep that truly rejuvenates your body. If traditional remedies like herbal teas and noise machines just aren't helping, maybe it's time to try a modern solution. Enter the Apollo wearable.

Now we understand being a little skeptical. How can a bracelet on your wrist or ankle affect your sleep patterns? Certainly the answer to a better night's sleep can't be so simple. We considered these same things when we first heard of it. We'll dive deeper into the science behind the Apollo wearable, but suffice it to say that many people have experienced deeper, uninterrupted sleep while wearing one.
A non-conventional approach to better sleep

Read more
The 11 best Father’s Day deals that you can get for Sunday
Data from a workout showing on the screen of the Apple Watch Series 8.

Father's Day is fast approaching and there's still time to buy your beloved Dad a sweet new device to show him how much you love him. That's why we've rounded up the ten best Father's Day tech deals going on right now. There's something for most budgets here, including if you're able to spend a lot on your loved one. Read on while we take you through the highlights and remember to order fast so you don't miss out on the big day.
Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 -- $200, was $230

While it's the Plus version of the Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 that features in our look at the best tablets, the standard variety is still worth checking out. Saving your Dad the need to dig out their laptop or squint at a small phone screen, the Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 offers a large 10.5-inch LCD display and all the useful features you would expect. 128GB of storage means plenty of room for all your Dad's favorite apps as well as games too. A long-lasting battery and fast charging save him the need for a power source too often too.

Read more