LONG ISLAND, N.Y., Nov. 14, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- By the time the first pitch is thrown in the 2015 Major League Baseball season, a new wearable technology product from Motus Global will be helping players optimize their performance as well as reduce their risk of injury – including UCL (ulnar collateral ligament) issues that have plagued pitchers at every level from youth to major leagues and led to the epidemic of Tommy John surgeries. The new Motus Sleeve will bring the company's biomechanics technology out of the lab and onto the field for the first time – initially for professional baseball teams, a few months later for ballplayers of all ages and ability, and ultimately in editions for other sports.
Based on four years of technology development and one-on-one lab work with professional athletes, the Motus Sleeve acquires motion data through a 3D motion sensor embedded in a device the size of a thumb drive and placed on the player's elbow via a pouch in the Sleeve itself.
For pitchers, the data collected by the sensor is used to provide information on variables such as arm speed, pitch counts, elbow torque on the UCL, elbow height, release point and cumulative workloads. For batters, the data gathered by the device will be used to calculate swing metrics and then correlated to Motus' comprehensive database to provide full body analytics.
Motus uses its proprietary performance and injury forecasting models to evaluate each user's pitching or batting mechanics and detect changes throughout a season such as fatigue that can lead to injury. Results are delivered through a smartphone app, along with individualized recommendations to help players improve their game.
Major League Debut
To validate the usefulness and authenticity of its data, Motus piloted the Sleeve with nine Major League Baseball teams during the 2014 Fall Instructional League held in September and October. Top pitcher prospects for the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, Baltimore Orioles, Pittsburgh Pirates, Houston Astros, Atlanta Braves, Seattle Mariners and Cleveland Indians wore the device every time they threw during the month, from workouts to bullpen sessions.
Over a four-week period, Motus generated hundreds of thousands of discreet data points – more than the previous four years in the lab – and showcased the Sleeve's potential for providing critical information on athlete performance and staying power. With access to real-time metrics on the field as well as detailed weekly trend analyses, 90% of the participating coaches and training staff used the data on a daily basis.
Motus has been documenting and analyzing the same data for four years in its flagship biomechanics lab in Bradenton, Florida, working with elite athletes in pre-season visits or other one-time sessions. The Sleeve takes it a step further by allowing continuous data collection in actual practice and game settings, delivering exponentially more information for analysis as well as making Motus' highly regarded technology available to the sports community at large.
"Our lab analyses are considered to be the gold standard in movement analysis, but our ability to capture data continuously on the field while players train and compete has afforded us the chance to report on workloads, cumulative stress, and visualize trends on the performance of a player throughout the season," said Joe Nolan, CEO at Motus. "This real-time feedback allows for coaches and trainers to identify any red flags or deficiencies and make corrections on the spot."
"We are always looking for innovative ways to help optimize player performance and address injury risk. The Sleeve is very promising, and we are glad that we have been given the opportunity to work with it at this early stage in its development," said Stan Conte, VP Medical Services-Head Athletic Trainer, Los Angeles Dodgers.
From Games to Sports
Founded in 2010 by CEO Joe Nolan and CIO Keith Robinson, along with Physical Therapist Jason LaMendola, Motus grew out of the partners' backgrounds in motion capture for video games, feature films and broadcast television as well as their respective involvement in school sports. (Nolan played competitive ice hockey at both the junior and collegiate levels, LaMendola played college basketball, and both Robinson and CTO Ben Hansen were on their college baseball teams.)
The vision for Motus was to apply motion analysis to identify anomalies in athletes' technique that could be used to optimize their performance on the field, detect injury risk factors, and create quantifiable assessments for return to play after rehabilitation. The work began with the development of the Motus 3D physics engine, then proceeded with testing of individual athletes in the company's biomechanics lab on the campus of Florida's IMG Academy.
Today, that facility is among the most respected labs of its kind in the sports world. Motus' methodology has led to strong partnerships with key organizations like the American Sports Medicine Institute and New York's Hospital for Special Surgery, and clients range from Olympic track and field contenders to MLB, NFL, NBA and European soccer league players sent by their coaches and teams. The Sleeve will change the game – literally.
"From the beginning, our goal was to take our lab experience and bring it to the field. The emergence of wearable technology has given us the path," Robinson said. "We have spent the last two years developing the product to ensure that we not only capture data accurately but also provide feedback in a form that can be understood by everyone from coaches to parents and the athletes themselves."
The Motus Sleeve will be available to MLB and NCAA teams on a limited basis in February 2015, just as pitchers and catchers report for spring training. The consumer version for competitive baseball players of all ages and skill levels will be released shortly thereafter and available on the Motus website. Data collected by the device's six accelerometers and gyroscopes will be transmitted live to Motus' mobile app via Bluetooth or stored on the device for later wireless transmission if no mobile device is nearby.
Down the road, Motus expects to release separate editions for golf, tennis, lacrosse, basketball, football and soccer – packaged with different compression sleeves depending on the body segment to be measured – along with a version that will provide a general mobility and stability assessment indicating an athlete's injury risk and athleticism ranking. The sensor form factor will be the same for all versions with different software tuned to the body mechanics and reporting needs of each sport.
Part technique diagnostic tool, part preventive medicine, the Motus Sleeve will help athletes take the heat as well as take their game to the next level. Coaching, training and injury prevention may never be the same.
About Motus Global
Motus Global is pioneering advanced methods of biomechanics analysis to help athletes optimize performance and reduce injury risk. The company's patent-pending movement analysis technology – available both in the lab and on the field – is designed to help athletes, coaches and trainers understand how movement impacts each individual's game. For more information, visit www.motusglobal.com
SOURCE Motus Global