The Financial Times is reporting that several members of Team USA will be participating in an experimental program to freely share their physical activity data during the Olympic Games in exchange for sensor devices from leading manufacturers.
Sky Christopherson, former Team USA cyclist and founder of Optimized Athlete, a startup that analyzes patterns in athletes health data, is serving as a consultant to the US Cycling team which has tasked him with finding patterns in team members sleep data in hopes of discovering ways to improve race times.
Christopherson has the cyclists using Dexcom glucose monitors, combined with a sleep monitor from Zeo and genetic reports from Pathway Genomics that show nutritional needs and muscular capacity. One thing he has discovered thus far is a correlation between the optimum amount of deep sleep and more powerful performances on the bike track.
In an attempt to increase athletes deep sleep, Christopherson is monitoring their blood sugar and recommending night-time snacks that did not cause big fluctuations in the levels. Lower blood sugar leads to better sleep which in turn leads to better workouts.
“These are early-phase trials to see how it works,” said Kevin Sayer, president of DexCom, which has donated its continuous glucose monitors to several US athletes. “We’re open to learn.”
“Olympic athletes are on the leading edge of performance. You can expect perfect compliance, which leads to perfect data,” said Ben Rubin, chief executive of Zeo, the sleep tracking device. “We seek to understand their sleep first, then trickle those findings down to everyday athletes and ordinary folks.”
I think its a great idea to use these world class athletes as guinea pigs of sorts, and hopefully the companies participating will be able to use the data gathered to improve future generations of their products. In fact, I am a bit surprised developers haven’t done more to partner with professional athletes in the past and expect to see much more of this type of R&D in the future.
Check out the video below featuring Sky Christopherson at a recent Quantified Self meetup at Google’s headquarters where he discusses how he has used wearable sensors to monitor his sleep and blood sugar in an effort to maximize performance.
3/29/12 – Quantified Self San Francisco Bay Area Meetup #24 at Google in Mountain View.
Sky Christopherson talks about “Self Quantification and Performance”