The Gatorade Company, Inc., a manufacturer of sports-themed beverage and food products, recently announced the launch of Bolt Breakers, an innovation project in collaboration with CoreSyte, Facebook, Spotify and Twitter to develop new technology platforms that will ultimately help athletes fuel their game.
CoreSyte, a company that uses wearable sensors to provide insights about what’s going on inside the human body, is the exclusive athletics partner of Eccrine Systems, a University of Cincinnati spin-off company co-founded by Jason Heikenfeld, UC College of Engineering and Applied Science Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computing Systems. CoreSyte and Eccrine are working closely to provide Gatorade with a digital sweat patch that has tracking capabilities that can provide real-time sweat profiles for athletes.
Eccrine Systems, born out of collaborative research with Air Force Research Labs and spun out of UC in 2013, is Heikenfeld’s third start-up, and a portion of the company is owned by UC, given its extensive patent filings related to the sweat sensing technologies. The company has been making great strides since our June 2015 article about their approval for a $1 Million Commercial Acceleration Loan Fund (CALF) loan from Ohio Third Frontier. Heikenfeld is currently on an entrepreneurial sabbatical—and his first one at that—to focus on helping Eccrine move forward with its patent-pending Sweatronics® technology, and to support the expanding universe of commercialization activities at Eccrine Systems.
Undoubtedly, Heikenfeld’s sabbatical has proved fruitful as Gatorade announced on March 14, 2016 that they were partnering with tech companies to “focus on making personalized workouts and training easier for athletes of all levels to achieve.” The sweat patch that Eccrine Systems and CoreSyte are developing uses proprietary sensor configurations and specialized software algorithms to measure sodium, potassium and chloride concentrations of sweat in real-time, non-invasively.
Assuming all goes well, the ground-breaking technology work of Heikenfeld and his latest commercial venture will help empower Gatorade’s commitment as “The Sports Fuel Company” by “allowing athletes to know exactly what nutrients their bodies need based on the information their sweat is providing. Additionally, coaches and trainers can meet specific needs of their athletes and monitor hydration levels.”
Gatorade’s other partnerships and projects include the following:
- Facebook—Stephen Vallera, Facebook’s lead creative strategist, will work with Gatorade to unite athletes through SPARK, which will aim to be an ‘Off the Field’ mobile playbook delivered in Facebook’s Feed. Facebook’s idea was to invite athletes to join the SPARK community thus gaining them access to a blend of personalized inspiration, utility, information, and community across a variety of Facebook formats such as Carousel, Canvas and 360 Video.
- Twitter—Bobby Grasberger, Twitter’s manager of brand strategy, announced the creation of #FuelAlerts in which push notifications will be sent through Twitter to athletes at strategic times during their daily schedules to help guide their nutrition. These calculated alerts will be customized for each athlete’s personal needs by identifying elite athletes based on their profile and tweets. In order to accomplish this, Twitter will work closely with Gatorade to better understand what each athlete nutritionally needs.
- Spotify—In collaboration with Gatorade, Spotify plans to use music to impact athletic performance by syncing certain songs and music types with specific training regimens.
Heikenfeld is excited to bring the technology innovations of UC and Eccrine Systems into CoreSyte and Gatorade’s refreshing remix as he says: “This is great evidence of the success of UC’s investments in support of commercialization, including the UC Accelerator program launched by Dr. Air. Our expectation is also that this is just the beginning, as Eccrine System’s mission is to address a spectrum of high value opportunities in Medicine, Industry, and Sport.”
The multi-dimensional, trans-industry collaboration behind Gatorade’s Bolt Breakers is unprecedented and will undoubtedly lay the groundwork for what the company calls the evolution of sports science training. Stay tuned as UC, Eccrine Systems, CoreSyte and Gatorade navigate the exciting new realm of this next-generation sweat sensing technology.