Point of view on how apps and sensors are transforming fitness and athletics, from the perspective of experts, including Olympians, coaches and entrepreneurs. Purchase the report here: https://gumroad.com/l/BTnV
Rock Report: Fitness Technology for Athletes by @Rock_Health
Swifter, higher, stronger:
A R O C K R E P O R T B Y
Rock Health is powering the future of the digital health ecosystem, bringing
together the brightest minds across disciplines to build better solutions. Rock
Health funds and supports startups building the next generation of technologies
Rock Health partners include Aberdare Ventures, Accel Partners,
Fenwick & West, GE, Genentech, Harvard Medical School, Mayo Clinic,
Merck, Microsoft, Mohr Davidow Ventures, NEA, Nike, P&G, Qualcomm,
Silicon Valley Bank, United Health and UCSF.
For more information, visit rockhealth.com
We wanted to know more about the convergence of digital health and sports,
and the impact of technology on the ﬁtness consumer market. This report
sources data and feedback from interviews conducted with entrepreneurs and
athletes working in the space as well as industry research.
Caveat: we are not professional white-paperistas, just curious advocates
who like to share knowledge and further the discussion around the
evolving digital health space.
Dan DregerLeslie Ziegler
Apps & sensors are
The health & ﬁtness app
will quadruple by 2016
Stress & Relaxation
% of apps
General health & fitness
Tracker Trainer Nutrition
Captures distance, elevation gain
and pace using GPS and sensors
Calculate caloric needs &
help make dietary decisions
Factors driving downloads
# of previous downloads
Securing those early
downloads is an
important step on the
way to a company’s
success. It demonstrates
to investors that steady
progress is being made,
and puts your company
at the top of the lists,
which, in turn drives
Marketing Director, AzumioDownloads
Freemium apps now generate
the majority of direct revenue
Top 200 grossing apps
Paid Apps with in-app purchases
Fremium: Free Apps with in-app purchases
App prices are going down
and revenue is exploding
Average selling price of 300 most popular paid apps Freemium game revenue
Entertain & train
Combines short, simple exercises
with an adventure game based on
real geographical information that
you can play with friends.
What: Turn boring exercise routines
into awesome video games.
Games are controlled by head
movement and exercise speed.
Crowdfunding platform that lets
friends, family and brands motivate
people to achieve health goals
with money and deals.
Compete, motivate & encourage
Earn points for your achievements,
compete, track, motivate and
encourage and earn points that
can be used in real life.
Proactive & on-the-go advice
Scan product barcodes at the
grocery store to see product
What: Provides personalized health
scores on everyday grocery store
products to help ﬁnd healthy and
Our apps not only cater to experienced
gym buffs, but even more so to the
20-45 year old enthusiasts who want
more variety and fun in their ﬁtness
Great for beginners
Gain points & level up
With trackers AND trainers for all levels, Skimble is
at the forefront of the next generation of apps.
Support for over 40 activities
Track & support friends
Suitable for all levels
Our whole philosophy
and theory behind this
thing was that if you
create better coaches,
you’ll create better
Packed with drills, practice plans and tools,
FlexxCoach is making even amateur coaches into pros.
Drill database created by
Easily share drills, game tape
and scouting reports with athletes
Suitable for all levels, from volunteer
hockey coaches to the NHL
Provides a full array of tools for all levels
We’re making physiological
frictionless by leveraging
the built-in sensors in your
smartphone, making tracking
your health a delight instead
of a chore.
Mobile and cloud-based software that turns
ordinary cameras into biosensors
Born at MIT, based on
cutting edge science
Well designed, intuitive
and delightful to use
Dashboard contains history, provides insight
and compares your data to other users
Heart rate monitors
Syncs with apps like
Runkeeper and MapMyRide,
connecting to the phone
Features: Gathers heart rate data through
a sticky body patch that can be
placed anywhere on the body.
Track heart rate through sensor/software combos.
Scales, software, and
pedometers all communicate
and integrate seamlessly.
Features: Adds gamiﬁcation to stimulate
motivation in a sleek keychain.
Taking walking and step counting
to a whole new level.
Displays biometric data on the
inside of your sunglasses.
Features: Skiers and snowboarders can
see feedback on elevation gain,
distance and airtime within a pair
Rethinking where and how athletes get
real-time data during training.
Inertial sensor system equipped
with accelerometers and
gyroscopes sewn into a
Features: Developing highly wearable
sensor products and services
for wellness and medical
WearablesBringing sensors seamlessly into the
clothing and shoes we wear.
High deﬁnition, slow motion
video analysis software with
the tools to mark, highlight,
and compare footage
What: Captures underwater video or
synchronized video and force
data, providing feedback to
Video analysisCutting edge camera systems help track,
record and improve performance
CEO and Founder, MC10
When a sensing technology is
virtually invisible to the user
and available at an affordable
price, continuous access to
high-quality biofeedback can
become a part of everyday life
for all consumers who are
looking to get healthier.
Conformal sensors that provide continuous
biofeedback across multiple data points
Collects data with
no user action required
Thin patch comfortably
conforms to the body
Dr. Leslie Saxon
USC Center for Body Computing
on form factor:
on designing for athletes:
on the future:
Performance is deﬁnitely not a one size ﬁts all solution, and we’ve seen trainers
grow frustrated by the cumbersome nature of many of the tools on the market.
It might seem like you can just strap on a device, get a bunch of data and help
an athlete’s performance, but that is a very engineering-centric approach.
Athletes want to be part of the learning process, not just told what to do.
Coaches are interested in solutions that teach and reinforce better technique
and other positive habits. Sports is about winning, so show results and
athletes and coaches will use them.
Now you might monitor an athlete for 3 hours a day during training, but we
believe the other 21 hours have equal importance. Front end tools need to be
more engaging and sticky, and the information less dense and confusing.
Monitoring will lead to a more engaging fan experience.
8-year NFL Veteran & Super Bowl Captain
on small changes:
on designing for athletes:
on the future:
Athletes are rewarded by sub-second accomplishments, and this necessitates high
performance, real-time monitoring. Data gives the elite and everyday athlete real-time
feedback so they know if the effort they are putting in has the desired result.
Every athlete is looking to minimize distraction so they can focus on their training and
workout. Making tools more comfortable and conformal opens it up to a larger audience
so the everyday athlete can now start to realize the beneﬁts of digital sensing.
Technology provides an objective measure, and takes personal judgment out
of symptom reporting, in a way protecting the athlete from him or herself.
Maintaining the longevity of an athlete’s career is critical, and seamless
sensing has the power to optimize performance and reduce the risk of injury.
The NFL Player
Head Coach, Princeton Men’s Basketball
on the right tools for coaches:
on positioning data to athletes:
on the future:
The more information I have to train our guys to be at their best over the course
of the four years they are with us, the better. So much of our preparation
combines speed and quickness while also handling the physical demands
of the game, which is something sensors help manage.
The key is to make them feel like they’re part of the process. Show (don’t tell)
athletes how something helps them to be their best. Data collected over a
period of time creates a repeatable process that reinforces the positives.
Professional football clubs already use GPS technology and heart rate training
to determine training loads, but neither have seen mainstream use in college
basketball. A combined device will be introduced very soon, and has the
potential to help teams tremendously through the course of a season.
The Head Coach
Olympian & IronMan World Champion
on training for race days:
on coaching triathletes:
on the future:
When I was training for the triathlon, I used the Power Tap on my bike. It allowed me
to really dial in my wattage for every ride, whether it was hard or easy. I didn’t race
with it very often, as I learned from my training exactly where I needed to be.
I also encourage my athletes to train with Power Tap on the bike as it helps them
learn how to ride at the appropriate effort, and helps me understand how they are
doing with training, even if I’m coaching remotely.
Technology has really transformed the way we train. But price is still a huge issue.
Power meters for the bike are expensive, and that is the biggest deterrent to
adoption. The price of power meters will continue to decrease, and the reliability
and durability of these devices will only get better.
The World Champ
CEO & Founder, MC10
on market timing:
on avoiding injuries:
on the future:
You can’t improve what you can’t measure, and historically, tools for measuring
performance in real time, and using data to drive performance improvement, have
been reserved for elite athletes. We are entering an era in which those tools–in the
form of digital health sensors–can ﬁnally reach the everyday athlete.
Our sports systems provide the enhanced sensing athletes need to avoid injuries.
Knowing whether they’re about to overextend themselves – facing dehydration,
fatigue, excessive impact, muscle strain—will help them make better decisions
about their training and competition strategies.
When a sensing technology conforms to the athlete and not the other
way around, it can capture more insights for longer periods of time
without discomfort. We feel that this seamless sensing that is invisible
to the user truly widens the window into consumer health.
Olympic Gold Medalist in Speed Skating
on the international market:
on the important role of
on the future:
In Holland, they’ve developed watches that communicate with sensors beneath the
ice to give skaters up to the second lap times, acceleration numbers, splits and pace.
We don’t have the funding to pioneer that type of technology in the US.
Host countries always increase their medal counts because there’s so
much more funding. When we hosted in 2002, we had partnerships with
tons of companies which allowed us to quickly adopt the latest technology.
When the games are in other countries, our funding is generally lower.
While skating, your forearms move up to 60mph–faster than the biceps and
torso. So Nike developed a “Swiftsuit” where the fabric in those areas was all
different, which helped skaters save a second per lap. The suits (which were
originally developed for track and ﬁeld athletes) are faster than skin.
The Gold Medalist