IoT at the Paralympics: the connected swimming cap

By | 1 minute read | September 2, 2016

Paralympic swimmer

Connected swimming cap is an innovation for the Paralympics

A Bluetooth-connected swimming cap could radically impact blind swimming at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio this September. Developed by Samsung and Cheil Spain, the swim cap automatically alerts blind swimmers when to turn around for another length.

The device, as yet only available to elite swimmers, was developed in partnership with the Spanish Paralympic Committee. It’s the first major technological advance in blind swimming since the event was introduced to the Paralympics 56 years ago.

‘Got myself a big stick’… in the swimming pool

The current method for letting visually impaired swimmers know when it’s time to make their turn is for coaches to tap them on the head with a big stick as they approach the poolside.

The drawback is that this relies on arm reach (oh, for a taller coach!) and pinpoint timing. With the connected swim cap, the coach just has to press a button on their smart watch or phone to create a slight vibration in the swim cap. The vibration alerts the swimmer, who makes the turn. Split-second precision is easier to achieve when wielding a button instead of a long pole, which means the swimmer gains valuable time.

Using IoT to improve training

It is hoped that the swim cap will also collect data as to swimming style, speed and efficiency during training to help optimise a swimmer’s performance in competition. No specifics have been released as yet, but access to data of this precision would be an invaluable training resource for elite swimmers.

The connected swim cap isn’t the only device making its presence felt in the Olympics. Check out some of the other choice wearables making an appearance in Rio 2016, and let us know what you think in the comments below!