Changing the Game of Sports and Entertainment with Wearable Technology

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Imagine watching a football game as if you were seeing it through the eyes of the Quarterback or experiencing the latest Sci-Fi film as if you were living in that alien environment.

Truly immersive entertainment experiences have long been promised by new technology over the years, like high-definition and even 3D TVs, but it will be wearable technology that will finally be able to deliver.

Wearables have the potential of changing every facet of our lives. This includes our wellbeing, the way we work and also the way we can kick back and relax and have fun. Even in the early days of this new technology, we are starting to see the impact of wearables on how we make and experience sports and entertainment.

Back in April of this year, Orlando Magic was the third NBA team to use Google Glass, a heads-up display, to create an in-game experience for fans which offered unique perspectives of the game in real-time to the audience. Orlando Magic joined the Sacremento Kings and Indiana Pacers in using a wearable live streaming platform, provided by Crowdoptic, to allow fans to experience the game through the eyes of players and others at the game.

But professional sports teams aren’t just using devices like Glass to better the game, but are also using wearables to better the players themselves by tracking and analyzing biometric data.  Using data to better sports is what Australian-based Catapult Sports excels at. The company, who recently saw investment from the likes of Mark Cuban, uses wearable technology equipped with both GPS and an accelerometer to quantify the progress of athletes in training and mitigate the risk of injury. Catapult’s bio-analytic platform is being used by the Toronto Raptors, Canadian Women’s Soccer team and NHL teams like the Philadelphia Flyers.

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Of course its not just sports that is being disrupted by this new wave of computing. Music and film are also being pushed to new limits because of this tech. Subpac, is taking music to new heights with its patent-pending tactile audio tech.  The wearable backpack works adds a physical dimension to the music experience by transferring low frequencies directly to your body, giving a whole new meaning to feeling the bass. And BioBeats, is going even deeper into your body by using your biometric data to dynamically generate music from your unique heartbeat.

Virtual reality devices like Oculus Rift, Samsung’s Gear VR and Sony’s Morpheus are blasting past the flat screen and offering a gaming, TV and film experience that will make you feel like you are part of the experience. The Canadian Film Centre’s Media lab recently partnered with 1188 Films to create an immersive teaser to their award-winning Body/Mind/Change production, a digital extension of TIFF’s David Cronenberg: Evolution exhibition. The teaser was brought to life with virtual reality headset Oculus Rift providing the audience with a 360-degree view of the “Cronenbergian” world.

The impact that wearable technology has on sports and entertainment is the focus of a new conference in Toronto on October 21, 2014 called WEST: Wearable Entertainment and Sports Toronto. A first in Canada, the event is bringing together the likes of adidas, Intel, Catapult Sports, Toronto FC, Golden State Warriors, the Canadian Film Centre and the US Olympics Committee to demo and discuss how this new technology is being used in these spaces.