SportsTech Ireland Launch: Kitman Labs

At the official launch of SportsTech Ireland we were delighted to welcome over a dozen companies to the Innovation Showcase. one of these was Kitman Labs, a sports data company based in Dublin that enables athletes and coaches to avail of and interpret real-time results. Kitman Labs employs more sports data analysts than anyone else in the industry.  They are also offering the world’s first athlete optimization system as a cloud-based service.

A huge thanks to Kehlan Kirwan at RedEye Media for putting together this clip from our launch. 


Optiflow Digital: A Case Study of Intelligent Mouth Guards

Intelligent Mouth Guards: New way of preventing secondary concussion brain injuries

by Paul McGurran, Optiflow Digital

 

Are you a parent whose children play high-impact sports such as rugby? If so you are probably aware of the growing concerns that injuries from secondary concussion can cause teenagers and young adults. The Will Smith directed movie “Concussion” has also helped raise public awareness of the potential dangers of continuing to play on while still concussed. It is estimated that each year approximately 3.8 million concussions occur in USA and that in roughly half of these cases players don’t report it.

 

Definition: A concussion, also known as a mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI), is caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to either the head or the body that causes the brain to move rapidly inside the skull. A concussion changes how the brain normally functions. Signs and symptoms of concussion include headache, nausea, fatigue, confusion or memory problems, sleep disturbances, or mood changes.

 

Emergence of Intelligent Mouth Guards Market

There are a number of US start-ups emerging that have been working on developing Intelligent Mouth Guards that seek to address the above problem.

 

Prevent Biometrics, founded in 2015 and based in Minneapolis, completed a Series A funding round of $2.5 million in 2016. Co-founder and CEO Steve Washburn was previously the CEO of Shock Doctor Mouthguards for 15 years, where he built the brand into the market leader. The accuracy of the Prevent technology has been scientifically validated by the Cleveland Clinic.

“Research has shown that accurate head impact measurements are impossible to achieve without a secure coupling to the skull. This is why we chose to embed our impact monitor in a mouthguard, and develop our technology and intellectual property around this concept,” said CEO Washburn.

How does Prevent Biometrics Work?

Prevent Biometrics (www.preventbiometrics.com) accurately measures head impacts in real-time on the field of play, giving athletes and coaches the information they need to make sports safer. Embedded in a mouth guard and paired with a mobile app, Prevent’s impact monitor continually monitors the athlete, collecting every head impact received. If an impact force exceeds a pre-set threshold, a red LED immediately illuminates on the mouth guard and an alert is sent to team coaches through the mobile app.

The head impact monitor uses a patented deformable body algorithm to measure the force, direction and location of head impacts in real-time, providing accurate and comprehensive view of athlete head impacts. The company plans to offer two versions of its head impact monitor for athletes ages 11 and older, starting at $199.

Summary

In summary, we have discussed the emergence of an intelligent mouth guard start-up. What is innovative about the post-impact feedback to managers and coaching teams is that it is “real-time” and removes any debate about whether a player should stay on or withdraw from the field of play. This will prevent potentially very harmful secondary concussion brain injuries. It will be interesting to plot the progress of Prevent Biometrics in the coming years.

Optiflow Digital was established by Paul McGurran in 2012 and is based in the Nexus Innovation Centre, University of Limerick. Paul has over 19 years experience in Usability, Online Customer Experience and eCommerce. He is an Enterprise Ireland mentor to Irish start-ups including Pinpoint Medical, Von Bismark and Accuvio Software. Please feel free to contact Paul via Linkedin.

https://ie.linkedin.com/in/paul-mcgurran-2ba22822

 


Limerick, the hub for SportsTech Ireland

Limerick, the hub for SportsTech Ireland

 

What do you think of, when you think of Limerick?  

Inevitably when I ask this question, sport of one form or another features in the first 5 words.  Be it Munster Rugby, the UL Arena; Tom Barr; Special Olympics, the 50 metre pool; Ger Hartmann; rowing on the majestic Shannon river; the World Student Sports Games, or the new 25 metre diving pool opening soon.  However, one thing stands above all else – the enthusiastic, passionate sporting fans and spirit that pervades Limerick.

 

Background

This idea for this initiative was borne out of a research project by an Executive MBA team from the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan.  Len Middleton, Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship at the Ross School of Business has been a long-time visitor to Ireland and particularly to Limerick and the mid-west.   Len brought his 100th Irish team to Limerick in September 2016, this time to lead a project on examining the start-up and scaling ecosystem and how it could be powered up.  The project team met with many stakeholders in the City including UL, LIT, Limerick Enterprise Office, Innovation Works, etc, as well as many start-up entrepreneurs and established companies.   One of the many ideas conceived was for a Limerick-based cluster bringing together two of the cities key areas of interest, Sports and Technology.

“SportsTech Ireland can provide a bridge between coaches, athletes & players, investors and sports and technology entrepreneurs, businesses and international companies.”  Professor Len Middleton, University of Michigan.

In 2015 Ireland’s first ever sports business cluster was established in Limerick with a target of creating 500 jobs within five years.  The National Sports Business Cluster was developed in association with W2 Consulting, University of Limerick and Innovate Limerick.  Building a specialised SportsTech hub for sports innovation and technology is a natural extension of this project, linking to the Universities for research and Sports Science and IT/Engineering; LERO (Irish Software Research Centre); entrepreneurs; indigenous and multi-national technology companies; coaches, players and athletes.

Formal clusters are known to work well.  Dundee is noted as a video games cluster and has been credited with driving a 600% growth in Scotland’s gaming industry.  Dublin is focusing on becoming a Fintech super-power cluster.   Galway is Ireland’s med-tech cluster. As Michael Porter has said “the enduring competitive advantages in a global economy lie increasingly in local things—knowledge, relationships, motivation.”  Clusters are not new thinking but they are viewed as the new kind of team.  A team where the performance is much higher than the sum of the parts.  

A SportsTech cluster for Ireland can compete on an International scale with Israel, London, Paris, Toronto, Boston, St Louis, and Silicon Valley.    The aim is to specialise in key verticals:

  • Performance
  • Analytics
  • IoT
  • Fan Engagement
  • eCommerce
  • Broadcast 
  • Stadium Tech
  • eSports

 

Leap of faith

A SportsTech cluster for Ireland requires a long-term strategy and commitment.  Establishing it in Limerick takes advantage of the natural sporting ecosystem that already exists.  Making SportsTech Ireland a success requires motivation, innovative thinking, collaboration and a competitiveness; the hallmarks of any great team.

The official launch of SportsTech Ireland is set for June 1st in Limerick.   It all began with an idea.  But the raw material that can power this idea is, of course…people.

 

Useful Links

https://michiganross.umich.edu/

https://hbr.org/1998/11/clusters-and-the-new-economics-of-competition

http://www.limerickchamber.ie/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Invest-In-Limerick-2017.pdf