The sports industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by consumer demand, competitive pressures, performance enhancement, injury prevention and tactical insights, and the growing importance of technologies such as sensor technology, machine learning & artificial intelligence (AI), energy harvesting, material science, augmented reality, 3D printing, and biomechanics analysis. In the last three years alone, there have been over 76,000 patents filed and granted in the sports industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Innovation in sports: athletic monitoring sensors. Buy the report here.

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According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which uses over 49,000 patents to analyze innovation intensity for the sports industry, there are 10+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.  

Athletic monitoring sensors is a key innovation area in sports

Athletic monitoring sensors are wearable or embedded devices equipped with various sensors and technology to collect real-time data during sports and physical activities on various aspects of an athlete’s performance, including physiological, biomechanical, and environmental parameters. These sensors play a crucial role in monitoring vital signs, such as heart rate, speed, distance, body temperature, and more, providing athletes, coaches, and sports scientists with valuable insights to optimize training, improve performance, and reduce the risk of injuries.

GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each innovation area and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies. According to GlobalData, there are 140+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established sports companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of athletic monitoring sensors.

Key players in athletic monitoring sensors – a disruptive innovation in the sports industry

‘Application diversity’ measures the number of applications identified for each patent. It broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.   

‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of countries each patent is registered in. It reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.  

Patent volumes related to athletic monitoring sensors

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
NIKE 238 Unlock Company Profile
adidas 66 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung Group 36 Unlock Company Profile
Tonal Systems 35 Unlock Company Profile
Alphabet 30 Unlock Company Profile
iFIT Health & Fitness 27 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Motor 26 Unlock Company Profile
Wattbike 22 Unlock Company Profile
LG 21 Unlock Company Profile
Polar Electro 20 Unlock Company Profile
Casio Computer 18 Unlock Company Profile
FOUNDATION FITNESS 16 Unlock Company Profile
Apple 16 Unlock Company Profile
Wahoo Fitness 16 Unlock Company Profile
InfoMotion Sports Technologies 15 Unlock Company Profile
Omron 15 Unlock Company Profile
Technogym 15 Unlock Company Profile
Huawei Investment & Holding 14 Unlock Company Profile
Interactive Strength 14 Unlock Company Profile
Seiko Epson 13 Unlock Company Profile
Garmin 12 Unlock Company Profile
TDK 12 Unlock Company Profile
NuStep 12 Unlock Company Profile
Dyaco International 12 Unlock Company Profile
The French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission 11 Unlock Company Profile
Pentland Group 11 Unlock Company Profile
The Swatch Group 11 Unlock Company Profile
Kyocera 10 Unlock Company Profile
Intel 10 Unlock Company Profile
Hydrow 10 Unlock Company Profile
The Cleveland Clinic Foundation 10 Unlock Company Profile
Repligen 9 Unlock Company Profile
Turtle Beach 8 Unlock Company Profile
Lululemon Athletica 8 Unlock Company Profile
Inventus Engineering 8 Unlock Company Profile
eGym 7 Unlock Company Profile
Nautilus 7 Unlock Company Profile
Fisher & Paykel Healthcare 7 Unlock Company Profile
EW Healthcare Partners 7 Unlock Company Profile
Berkshire Hathaway 7 Unlock Company Profile
Panasonic 7 Unlock Company Profile
Muoverti 7 Unlock Company Profile
Cyberdyne 6 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Electric 6 Unlock Company Profile
MindMaze 6 Unlock Company Profile
Celume Development 6 Unlock Company Profile
MAD Apparel 6 Unlock Company Profile
Hiwin Technologies 6 Unlock Company Profile
Beijing Electronics 6 Unlock Company Profile
Honda Motor 6 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Athletic monitoring sensors incorporate various types of sensors to capture data. These sensors can include accelerometers, gyroscopes, magnetometers, GPS receivers, heart rate monitors, temperature sensors, pressure sensors and more. These sensors are often integrated into wearable devices such as smartwatches, fitness trackers, and clothing, as well as specialized sports equipment such as helmets, shoes, and shin guards.

Nike is one of the leading patent filers in athletic monitoring sensors. Some other key patent filers in this space include adidas, Samsung, Tonal Systems, iFIT Health & Fitness, Wattbike, Polar Electro, and Casio Computer.

In terms of application diversity, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare leads the pack, while Alphabet and Nihon Kohden stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Nike held the top position, followed by adidas and InfoMotion Sports Technologies.

Athletic monitoring sensors have become indispensable tools in sports, providing athletes and coaches with a wealth of data to optimize performance, prevent injuries, and ensure overall well-being. As technology continues to advance, these sensors are expected to play an increasingly significant role in shaping the future of sports and athletic training.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the sports industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Sports.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData’s Patent Analytics tracks patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.