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MLB embraces wearable technology

Wearable technology products will be used by Major League Baseball players this season after the North American league approved proposals from two companies.

The Associated Press news agency said MLB players will be permitted to use the Motus Baseball Sleeve, which measures stress placed on elbows, and the Zephyr Bioharness heart and breathing rate monitor during the 2016 campaign.

It is hoped that the introduction of the technologies will help reduce the risk of injury by spotting symptoms early.

The AP’s report added that MLB’s playing rules committee has also approved the use of two bat sensors during games. The Blast Motion and Diamond Kinetics companies have each developed a sensor.

The playing rules committee last year provisionally approved the use of the Motus Baseball Sleeve, and this announcement marks the first time MLB has fully consented to the use of wearable technologies during games.

“Motus and MLB have the same goal, keeping players healthy and on the field,” Motus chief executive Joe Nolan told the AP.

Steven Small, director of performance systems at Zephyr, added: “Heart rate variability is an indicator of stress and can be used in developing post-game recovery routines for high intensity players such as the starting pitcher rotations and catchers.”

Data from the devices will not be transmitted during games and will instead be downloaded afterwards. The Apple iPads MLB recently approved for use by teams do not have Bluetooth wireless technology and no other electronic equipment is allowed in dugouts during games.

Clubs have been permitted to use the data only for internal purposes, and it will be shared with players. It cannot be provided to broadcasters or used for commercial purposes.