Tokyo Olympics: athletes took an ELECTRONIC pill in groundbreaking experience
Tokyo 2020 athletes swallowed an electronic pill that measured their body temperature in a pioneering experiment.
Scientists monitored competitors’ vital signs in real time to test technology designed to protect them from heat exhaustion.
The pilot project also involved monitoring volunteers’ heart rates and gait information during competition.
He focused on participants in long distance running events with a view to using the technology in other sports in the future.
Tokyo 2020 athletes took electronic pill in groundbreaking science experiment
The pilot program is designed to read the body’s vital signs in real time to prevent heat exhaustion
“This was carried out as a proof of feasibility and it seems to be feasible,” Sébastien Racinais, the scientific researcher who chaired the project, told the Mail on Sunday.
“This is only the first step that we are doing, but it can become an important development for real-time monitoring.
“We are planning to work on a larger scale and we need to work with different federations to see what is doable.”
Scientists have used similar technology at events such as the 2019 World Athletics Championships in Doha.
And the GB team athletes are among those athletes who downloaded physiological data from an electronic pill while preparing for the extreme heat of Tokyo. But this is the first time that researchers have been able to map the biological activity of athletes in real time.
The study focused on the long-distance running events, which took place in the extreme heat of Tokyo.
“We’re talking about potential,” Racinais said, “but maybe in the near future we can have someone in the medical center with a big computer screen in front of them, with each athlete’s data displayed at screen and we can see if anyone is showing signs of heat exhaustion.
The pill, which weighs 1.7 g, is swallowed a few hours before the competition and passes through the body in 48 hours.
It works by transmitting information via low frequency radio waves to a wristband worn by the athlete. The bracelet sends the data via Bluetooth to a smartwatch, which in turn transfers it to a computer server.
The scientists then read the core temperature and skin temperature, while monitoring climate information, including the humidity and temperature of the earth and the air.
Technologies like heart straps could help in cases like Christian Eriksen’s at Euro 2020
Scientists also tracked the heart rate of athletes during competition. It is believed that in the future, the technology could relay EKG data, commonly known as ECGs, measuring heart rate and electrical activity.
It could help in the case of athletes like Christian Eriksen, the footballer who suffered cardiac arrest at Euro 2020.
“Currently, the technology is not designed that way, but it could be,” Racinais said, “because once you have real-time transmission you can consider having the system hooked up to an ECG. , then you can monitor each patient remotely. “
Racinais sits on the games group of the International Olympic Committee’s Medical and Scientific Commission, but has managed the program independently.
He believes the technology, which uses GPS tracking, will be most useful for sports that take place over long distances – like ultra-endurance competitions and rally car races. This would allow medical experts to keep abreast of the health of competitors several miles away.
He also says it could transform tactical decision-making in sports including cycling, although some sports federation rules currently prevent staff from monitoring runners via GPS.
“In Formula 1, the engineering team gets all the data from the car in real time. There is a similar possibility in cycling for the team manager following the peloton in the car – to get information about his riders and depending on that he can adapt his strategy. ‘
Scientists say technology could cause cyclists to totally change their tactics and decisions
The team behind the project hopes that the technology will be significantly improved for the Paris 2024 Games and standard use by the 2028 Games in Los Angeles.
This would leave the medical community with a dilemma as to whether it is ethical to remove at-risk athletes from a live event.
“Athletes are often their worst enemies,” said another scientist involved in the project. “They will unwittingly harm themselves to be successful. But success could cause them to cross the line and put their health at extreme risk. This technology could protect them from themselves.