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The Team PTMD Blog focuses on trending news and offers insights into the wearable, implantable and digestible health care ecosystem. From the latest devices on the market to regulatory issues, the PTMD team covers a range of different topics in this rapidly-growing industry.

SMRT Mouth, Halo Monitor: Check Out New Methods for Athlete Hydration

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In 2001, Korey Stringer, Minnesota Vikings offensive lineman, died from a heat stroke during summer training camp. His death brought attention to the reality that athletes often face heat-related illnesses. I’m a mom of a two-year-old boy. He loves anything with a ball, probably in large part because his dad was an athlete. Before I know it, my kid will be in high school wanting to play the dreaded sport, football. Don’t get me wrong—I love football. But that doesn’t mean I want my son running around in the heat with no backup plan; we live in the Phoenix area, where summer temperatures soar into the triple digits. 

According to the National Athletic Trainer Association, between 2005 and 2009, heat stroke caused more deaths than in any previous five-year period within a 35-year span. The condition represents one of the three leading causes of sudden death in sports.

Times like these, I’m glad to be working for PersonalTech MD where I research all sorts of gadgets that benefit, well, me, and my readers along the way. Right now there are just a couple of gadgets for monitoring body temperature and preventing heat stroke, but I predict this will turn into a bigger market as coaches and athletic directors seek to put their players on the field with minimal setbacks. So, here are two wearables that sparked my interest and may do the same for your athletic patients and their worry-prone parents:

SMRT Mouth: The Sports Monitoring Responsive Technology comes in mouthguard form and is intended for athletes of any age. The device made its debut Sept. 15, 2015, on the crowdfunding website, Indiegogo. The Bluetooth-enabled SMRT Mouth has embedded sensors that deliver real-time biometric data via an accompanying app to parents, coaches and trainers. The device tracks hydration, respiration, exertion and circulation. The carrying case acts as a cleaning device and a charger. A fully powered device holds a charge for up to four hours. SMRT Mouth aims to raise $50,000 to get the device from prototype to production; the company projects a release date of August 2016. The device is on Indiegogo for $99, half of what it will cost when sold to the public.

HALO H1: Michigan-based startup Halo Wearables plans to release its smartwatch-like hydration wearable in early 2016. The Halo H1 monitors hydration levels by using optical and electrical sensors, which track fluid levels in the body, and sodium and potassium ratios in blood plasma. A thermistor measures skin temperature, and other sensors track air conditions such as humidity. The algorithms analyze data in real time, providing hydration values on a scale of one to 100. The “Halo Index” has three zones:

  • Green (100-68): Tells the user she is fully hydrated;
  • Yellow (67-35): Suggests the user fuel up; and
  • Red (34-1): Notifies the user of dehydration.

The display on the watch is easy to read: green is good and red is bad, simple as that. The device syncs all data wirelessly to a smartphone or desktop computer. The user then can see how her body responds to certain exercises and how quickly hydration replenishes different fluids. The Halo H1 also comes with a manager function, allowing coaches, trainers and safety professionals to monitor a group of users at once. Trevor Calero, co-founder of Halo Wearables, told me the device will not be available to the public. The company is focusing on commercial applications: team sports, occupational health and safety settings where workers experience heat conditions. “For team sports we’re currently speaking with teams in the NFL and NBA, as well as dozens of top-tier college athletic departments,” Calero said. “In occupational health and safety we’re working with global corporations in the manufacturing, construction and oil and gas industries.”

 However, the company is working on a wearable for the consumer fitness market.

These devices ought to appeal to coaches and parents alike. Are you a coach, athletic director or parent? What are your thoughts? Would you implement this into your coaching routine? Share your ideas by emailing me.

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