Major League Baseball’s playing rules committee has approved the use of multiple biometric devices, according to new reports.
The Zephyr Bioharness is designed to track cardiac and respiratory measures, while the Motus Baseball Sleeve monitors stress on the wearer’s elbow; meanwhile devices from Diamond Kinetics and Blast Motion track how players manipulate their baseball bats. While MLB has made no official announcements or comments on the devices’ approvals, sources speaking to The Associated Press suggested the devices would be used to more effectively monitor players’ health.
While that would theoretically be good for players, the Major League Baseball Players Association is reportedly concerned about potential intrusions on players’ privacy, suggesting that this would be a topic of future negotiations with MLB. In this way, the development echoes longstanding concerns about biometric technology’s use in the NBA, and its potential for creeping into players’ lives.
At the same time, the development tracks with what appears to be a growing interest in biometric technology from the sports community, with the Cleveland Browns football team recently having participated in a University Hospital Sports Medicine study involving biometric wearables. While privacy issues are likely to remain a concern generally, many are certainly starting to see the potential benefits of biometrics for athletes and their teams.