What is the only course of action when a prized racehorse is gravely injured while racing? In most of the cases, the only course of action is to put the poor animal to permanent sleep. Euthanasia is commonly used in the case of racehorses. These animals are no good when they cannot race anymore because of injuries. Surprisingly, the technology used in sports bras and chest pads is now being used in gauging whether a racehorse is fit to race or not. Rescue is possible for many a racehorse thanks to this technology.
The top horse races attract the best thoroughbreds as their owners eye the immense amount of prize money on offer. What happens sometimes is that those minor nicks and health issues are ignored, often proving terminal for the horses. For a horse to win a top derby, it has to be at the peak of its physical ability. Unfortunately, a horse cannot speak out when it is tired after a workout and is not fit for a race.
While a lot of care is taken to find out the well being of a thoroughbred when it is training, this cannot be done during a race. Now you have a group of researchers in Australia that are using the same monitoring mechanism for getting bio-feedback on horses as it used for monitoring professional athletes.
The main issue with monitoring bio-feedback of horses is that the device cannot get in direct contact with their skin. Horses are, like most other mammals, rather hirsute. So, the same technology that works wonderfully well for humans cannot work for horses. However, enhanced technology has made this possible already. Two different types of smart textiles are being used for monitoring horses. One is a textile ECG sensor and the other is an elongation sensor. Both these sensors can monitor the heart rate along with variability. Rescue for many a prized racehorse is now possible thanks to these enhanced sports bras.
Johanna Ternstrom, a master’s student at the University of Gothenburg and Chalmers University of Technology, is working on a project that is helping saddle and bridle manufacturers to produce more efficient products for the racehorses.
For professional human athletes, this technology is already in use. Adidas has a fantastic product called MiCoach Elite Team System. This system consists of a sensor that is attached to the chest pads of the athletes. It sends real time data on heartbeat and other vital stats to the handheld device of the coach. The system has proved wonderfully effective in allocating rest times and preventing over-exertion while in training. The product was launched during the 2012 MLS All-Star game and it is now used by all the MLS teams. The only issue with this product is that it is quite bulky. However, Adidas is confident of addressing this issue now that it has acquired Textronics Inc., a company that manufactures energy activated fabrics.
Racehorses have limited lives in terms of racing capability. One injury during workouts or during a race and the horse could be gone forever. It may sound cruel when a past by date racehorse is euthanized, but the owners really don’t have any other choice. These latest sports bras can rescue many such racehorses by sounding out alarms proactively. Some races may be devoid of the favorite horses, but that may prove beneficial to these animals in the long run.
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