How did Output Sports come about?

GD: Good afternoon, Martin, really good to speak with you. We’re going to have a good chat about sports and the technology that goes on behind it. So really looking forward to it. Obviously it’s something that resonates quite strongly with me. There wasn’t an awful lot of technology at the start of professional rugby but it was absolutely smothered in it by the time I was coming out. So really interesting to see how Output Sports are adding to that. So, Martin, it might be a really good place to start at the start and give us a little overview of Output Sports and maybe where the concept came from.

MOR: Absolutely, thanks a million Gordon. It’s really great to get the chance to speak with you today. In terms of where Output came from, we’re from University College Dublin originally and we’re an interdisciplinary team of sports scientists, physios, but then engineers and data scientists as well. Our kind of mission is to scale that top level of sports science and technology that you would have experienced towards your later playing days, to a much wider audience than previously possible. What we’ve developed is a single sensor, it’s about the size of a matchbox and it can test and track many components of fitness and also modulate and measure training as well. So, all of the off-field stuff that you do in the gym like strength and conditioning and physio therapy then as well if you’re unlucky enough to get injured and need to return to play safely and effectively. A few of those things like balance, strength, power, jump height, the way you move when you’re in the gym and so on and that data helps inform coaches how to make the best decisions to improve their athletes’ performance as they prepare to go out and play rugby or any given sport.

GD: I assume one of them is the vertical jump. When I started, that was the belt you tied around your waist where you had a cable connected to the floor and you had to jump. You always had lads who were thrusting their hips through to try and get an extra couple of centimetres on the jump. Is that sensor now attached to your foot, your hips? Where would something like that go and what is the biggest score you’ve seen?

MOR: Ah, yes, there’s great progression in technology there. Our sensor is literally just a wireless unit that’s paired up to a mobile app. It goes on your foot and measures your jump height with the same accuracy as those old school devices that would be super accurate but quite cumbersome and messy and obviously one thing as well, they could be easily cheated with certain techniques. Athletes always try and find a way to do that. It’s as simple as putting it on your foot and then, we have Rugby 7 users and sprinters. We’ve had people jump as high as 85 centimetres which is incredible.

GD: Oh, that’s not bad. Ian Madigan was always a man for finding a nuanced way of operating in grey areas. I think I had a PP of 82 or 83 so nice to see. One of the few things I was good at. I might be shorter but I was bouncy.

MOR: That’s class!

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