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Wearable Tech gives athletes an edge at 2016 Rio Olympics

With technology infiltrating every aspect of our lives, it should come as no surprise that it has played an important role at the 2016 Rio Olympics as well as the Paralympics. Wearable technology is not just helping top athletes deliver their best performance at a sporting event where all athletes are looking for Olympic gold, but it is also protecting them from any serious long-term injury.

Wearable technology is playing a growing role in sport all across the globe, from football to tennis and more. There is no greater use of it than at the Olympics. This year at the Rio Olympics, there have been some incredible feats of the human body over the last month, but this year we have seen a greater role of technology linked to these brilliant performances.

Wearable technology is both empowering athletes to optimise their exploits as well as protecting them from serious injuries. Wearable devices have for many years played a major role in health, but as the technology advances, the data being collected by wearables is providing all athletes with greater insight into their own bodies and training regimes.

All athletes know that powering muscles with the right type of meal is crucial to doing your best in a competition. The Halo Sports headphones are designed to imitate that effect. However, instead of food they accomplish this with pulses of energy.  

Halo uses a technology known transcranial direct current stimulation -- shooting electrical currents through the brain. The headphones' foam spikes act as electrodes to speed up the neurons to the brain's motor cortex, a practice called "neuropriming." The neurostimulation triggers responses from the brain and helps stimulate the muscles, allowing athletes to maximize the benefits their body derives from every training session.

Fans of swimmers Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte have noticed a black bracelet around their wrists. Whoop is giving the athlete an understanding of the stresses and straining they put on their body and the differing degrees they manage to recover over the course of a good night’s sleep. It uses the combined data to provide advice on how the athlete can enhance their performance without overtraining.

The Solos smart cycling glasses goes beyond providing cyclists protection from the sun. The lightweight eyewear’s tiny display screen keeps riders aware of data including speed, power, distance, and heart rate without distracting them from cycling. Though they are not yet approved to be used at the Olympic Games, the sunglasses have proved to be invaluable training tools for the a number of cycling teams globally.

 Finally, Visa has introduced a special ring. Fitted with a microchip, the wearable has an embedded NFC-enabled (near field communication) antenna. Athletes in Brazil can pay for purchases made at the Olympic village by simply tapping the ring close to any NFC-capable payments terminal, easing the need to carry credit cards. The ring is now available to everyone and uses anonymizing tokens to make payments all by itself.

These are just a few of the examples that were on show at the Olympics.