Patents and Olympics

This post was first published on 25th July, 2012

The 2012 Summer Olympic Games is scheduled to take place in London, United Kingdom, from 27 July. Since the Olympics is around the corner, we would like to share some interesting patents issued pertinent to athlete performance.
The patent (US6013007) discusses about a Global Positioning System (GPS) based personal athletic performance monitor for providing an athlete with real-time athletic performance feedback data. A feedback device, worn by the athlete is configured to send the performance parameters to AM, FM, and TV selected bands and can also be heard by the athlete using a headphone. A GPS receiver antenna in the feedback device continuously determines the athlete’s geographical position and stores it in the memory along with other information such as the date and time that each position was acquired. From these positions and times, performance data such as elapsed distance, current and average speeds and paces, calories burned, miles remaining, and time remaining is calculated. Based on this data, recommendations to increase or decrease level of effort to meet pre-set performance targets are determined and communicated to the user immediately.
Another patent (US7969314) discusses about an RFID triggered personal athletic device to monitor athlete performance in the race events. A personal athletic device is worn by an athlete during a race. A race course is provided with a mat and it has multiple antennas to generate a magnetic field. The personal athletic device has an RFID tag and a display. As the athlete progresses along the course, the RFID tag is triggered at the mat and split times (time taken to complete an initial distance in a longer event) are displayed on the device along with total elapsed time so that athlete can compare the performance during the timed event to a target performance.
Another Indian patent (IN216886) is about matching a sporting event to an individual (e.g. a sprint/power sport or an endurance sport) and predicting athletic performance. The patent identifies specific gene(s) or alterations in the gene(s) that correlate with potential athletic performance. The patent discuss about genotyping an individual with respect to the gene encoding the skeletal muscle protein, a-actinin-3 (ACTN3- Alpha-actinin-3, also known as alpha-actinin skeletal muscle isoform 3 or F-actin cross-linking protein, is a protein that in humans is encoded by the ACTN3 gene). This invention helps in screening individuals for athletic potential by combining the screening of ACTN3 with other genetic and physiological tests, physical measurements, psychological assessments to more optimally design a training regimen for an individual athlete.
Contributed by: Raghu

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