What golfer doesn’t want to swing like Tiger Woods? But who has the time, discipline, or innate talent? Well, for the rest of us, a new technology developed for blind athletes might just be our shortcut to greatness.
Ghost is a vibrating arm band that trains muscles to respond in a predetermined way. The optimal motions the body should go through are programmed into the arm band. Users receive immediate feedback in the form of vibration.
The instant feedback helps the body store the correct motion into “muscle memory,” the body’s way of memorizing repetitive tasks (walking, driving, riding a bike) so that we don’t have to consciously think about every move we make. Athletic training is all about drilling the motions involved in your sport into this unconscious repository. That way you can focus on the ball or the finish line and not all the little steps in between.
Designer Benedict Cooper of Imperial College, London, got the idea for Ghost from thinking about the challenges visually impaired athletes face who can’t watch instant replays of their performance like their sighted peers.
“I was struck by the story of someone losing their sight, and how they lost confidence and the ability to orient themselves in space. It can be harrowing,” Cooper told Discovery News.
But able-bodied athletes can certainly use the system too. And as any motion can be programmed into the arm band’s memory, why not Serena Williams’ serve or Michael Phelps’ stroke?
Of course, learning the right moves only gets you so far. You’ll still have to drill strength and stamina into your muscles the old fashioned way.
Video and photo via Cargo Collective