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Insight and Output Sports launch wearable fitness tests for elite athletes

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton T.D., has today announced the launch of a novel sports technology which applies machine learning to the task of shrinking the pro-athlete analysis laboratory to the size of a wearable sensor system.

Developed after more than five years of interdisciplinary research at the Insight SFI Research Centre hosted by University College Dublin (UCD), and in partnership with its new spin out company, Output Sports, this novel technology brings a whole new level of portability, efficiency and accuracy to athlete performance optimisation processes. Output Sports is currently headquartered at NovaUCD, the Centre for New Ventures and Entrepreneurs at UCD.

Speaking from an event at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston, Minister Bruton said: “I am delighted to announce this new technology capability from the Insight SFI Research Centre and its spin out, Output Sports. It demonstrates how the Irish researchecosystem is responsive and flexible, supporting the commercialisation and transfer of cutting-edge research into the marketplace. The government-funded SFI Research Centres continue to make important knowledge advancements; enhancing enterprise and industry, developing critical skills and further growing Ireland’s international reputation.”

Output Sports are now looking to expand relationships into the United States. Major League soccer team, Colorado Rapids, are partnering with Output Sports to bring their technology to athlete testing and tracking processes and to meet the needs of sports practitioners who work in fast-moving elite sports environments.

Colorado Rapids are set to begin a comprehensive evaluation of the Output Sports prototype systems with an aim to maximising its usability and value for US elite-sports environments. In announcing this partnership, Chad Kolarcik, Head of Sports Science at the Colorado Rapids stated; "At Colorado Rapids we are always aiming for the cutting edge of sports science. We are excited to be working with Output Sports as they move their work from fundamental science through to a commercial offering. We are working together to ensure their technology adds objectivity to sports-practitioners' decision-making processes with the efficiency and portability required in elite sports environments."

Output Sports have also participated in several high-profile start-up competitions in the US. Earlier this month Output Sports pitched as a finalist in the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference sports-tech start-up competition. The annual MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference provides a forum for industry and business professionals, students and sports fans to discuss the increasing role of analytics in the global sports industry. It is attended by some of the highest profile names in both US and international sport.

Dr Martin O’Reilly, co-founder and CEO of Output Sports states; “With a record number of competition entries this year, we were delighted to be among a small number of companies from around the world selected to pitch our technology at the prestigious MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference."

The Insight spin-out company is also working with ex Leinster rugby player Peadar Timmins and UCD graduate David Gormley, to enter the prestigious McCloskey start-up competition in Notre Dame University. As scholarship students of the ESTEEM programme in Notre Dame, Peadar and David are working on an initial market entry strategy for the US and engaging with and developing partnerships with NCAA and US pro-league teams across baseball, hockey, basketball and American football. Such partnerships will add to the learnings and advances gained from Output's flagship US partnership with the Colorado Rapids.

Prof Mark Ferguson, Director General, Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, said:“Science Foundation Ireland invests in world-class scientific research with deep and significant enterprise engagement, whichunderpins economic development and assists industry to grow and flourish in Ireland. I am delighted to see such collaborative and highly innovative research emerging from the Insight SFI Research Centre and Output Sports and look forward to seeing the results of its application.”

Output Sports are also partnering with George Mason University Virginia to externally test the scientific validation of the system. This will involve researchers in the university comparing Output Sports to gold standard laboratory equipment across a range of fitness tests. This will help to ensure that the metrics provided by the system are gold standard.

Insight’s Dr Darragh Whelan, co-founder and CSO states; “Output Sports are delighted to partner with Prof Margaret Jones, Justin Merrigan and all the team in George Mason University to further investigate the scientific validity and reliability of the system. We pride ourselves on our scientific accuracy and this is another example of the efforts we are undertaking to ensure the same.”