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In the Long Run: Keeping Track of Athletes with Wearable Tech


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Reigning premiers Hawthorn was the first Australian Football League club to trial the WASP tracking technology.

A wireless position location system developed by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization works anywhere conventional GPS satellites fail to reach.

Credit: David Crosling/AAP

Researchers at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) have developed a wireless position location system that works anywhere conventional global-positioning systems (GPS) satellites cannot reach, writes Iain Collings, deputy chief of CSIRO's Computational Informatics Division. He says the system will be used to track athletes and measure heartbeats to monitor fatigue, track player movements in relation to each other, plan team strategies, and improve training.

The system uses CSIRO's wireless ad-hoc system for positions (WASP) technology to measure these factors indoors. The WASP system works like a GPS, but instead of using satellites in space, it uses fixed reference nodes that need to be located within the building or just outside.

Collings says the WASP system is accurate to 20 centimeters, has high resistance to multipath interference, long-range operation, a high update rate, and simple deployment. He says the technology could lead to a wide range of possibilities for revolutionizing the way lives are organized, including ensuring safe working environments, optimizing factory operations, and supporting in-home health care.

The next step in the development of the system will involve extending it to be fully integrated with existing cellular and Wi-Fi systems.

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