Wearable Inventions on Display at this Summer’s Olympic Games

From Google Glass to FitBits, gadget lovers around the world just can’t get enough of the latest trend: wearable technology.  According to The Journal and market research firm IDC's latest Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker®, more than 71 million wearables were shipped in the last year. 

With the Olympics underway, here’s how athletes at Rio will be using wearable inventions: 

Training Enhancement: PC Mag reports on a product that Halo Neuroscience has developed called Halo Sport.  According to the company, the device “stimulates the brain’s motor cortex during training” which puts the brain into a temporary state of ‘hyperplasticity’ or 'hyperlearning,' making training more productive.  

 See how Halo Sport works here: 

Performance Improvement: Also in the news, Tune, a wearable device created by Portugal-based Kinematix, allows sprinters and runners to capture and review their running forms, transmitting data to their smart phones immediately following a practice or event.  See how Tune works here:  

Payment security: A number of wearable payment technologies will be available in Rio, including a special Olympians’ ring (for Visa-sponsored Olympic team athletes only); the Pulseira Bradesco wristband (released by Visa and Brazilian bank Bradesco for the bank’s account holders); and the Swatch Bellamy watch (available to all Olympians and attendees). These devices will not only help to make paying for things easier, but also have the potential to help combat what has become a trend of growing crime on Rio’s streets. 

According to Wareable, other innovations include a device that boxers can wear inside their wraps to track the number and type of punches they throw; tiny waterproof sensors that tell divers how high they jump and how long it takes them to get into their first spin; and eyewear that shows cyclists key metrics like speed, power and distance.   

And there will be many more on display in Rio. 

Intellectual property protection is a critical, and often overlooked, component of the sporting community. As with wearables, inventors and creators are working behind the scenes on product innovations that support the sporting community. The trickle-down effect of such protections supports economies, too. 

Jamaica is one example. In a statement before the TRIPS Council on Intellectual Property and Sports, it said:  

“[The Jamaica Intellectual Property Office] has seen the critical need for our sporting professionals to become aware of any potential IP opportunities from early in their careers. This is particularly important for those who evolve into elite athletes, achieving significant international recognition. Jamaica’s Usain Bolt is undoubtedly one of the most famous personalities in the world of sports. Regrettably, some entities have sought to cash in on his name without permission. Although Bolt’s management team has trademarked his name, we’ve seen several trademark infringement cases.”  


"[IP opportunity] is particularly important for those who evolve into elite athletes, achieving significant international recognition.” 

-Statement of Jamaica before the TRIPS Council 

Those who create new products – including those in the sporting industry – need an environment that supports innovation and a strong intellectual property system that protects patents on new ideas.  

In this summer’s Olympic games, as well as across sectors and around the globe, one thing is clear: we must protect innovators to win.