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From payment rings to antimicrobial outfits, there’s something for (almost) everyone.

By: Edgar Alvarez –


The 2016 summer Olympics – This year’s event, which runs through August 21nd, takes place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where the organizers have reportedly struggled to prepare for the games. Whether Rio is ready or not, some of the world’s best athletes will be there to compete for gold medals in just a few days. Naturally, technology will have a presence at the Olympics. That includes wearables designed to make life easier and safer for Olympians as well as others supposed to help in training. Read on the images below to learn about eight different pieces of gear the athletes will be using.


Visa’s NFC-enabled payment ring

As one of the of the International Olympic Committee’s main business partners, Visa will be the only card accepted at official venues in Rio. With that in mind, the company also made a ring that will allow people to pay for things at the Olympic village simply by waving their hand. Although the NFC-enabled wearable is designed mostly for athletes, some Visa employees and partners will also be wearing it.



Philadelphia University’s antimicrobial suit

The New York Times recently described Rio’s waters as a “toxic stew” after environmental researchers found pathogens that include a drug-resistant “superbacteria.” As you might imagine, aquatic Olympians need all the protection they can get. Thankfully, textile engineers at Philadelphia University have created antimicrobial suits to shield U.S. rowers from the hazardous waters where they’ll be competing. The bad news is that the suits likely won’t be able to resist all of the viruses present, but they’ll at least keep some of the bacteria from hitting the athletes’ bodies.



Solos smart glasses

What started as a Kickstarter campaign is now helping the U.S. cycling team train for the Rio Olympics. We’re talking about Solos, augmented reality glasses featuring a tiny heads-up display. The smart wearable, which looks a bit like Google Glass, will show cyclists key data during training, including cadence and heart rate. Theoretically, this should help athletes improve their performance, but we’ll see just how well once the cycling competition begins.



Nike AeroSwift and AeroBlade

Nike will debut a new textile tech in Rio that’s designed to help track-and-field runners improve their speed. The small fabric nodes, pictured here, are said to channel air around the athletes to reduce wind drag. With AeroSwift, they’re part of the runner’s outfit (shirt, shorts), while the AeroBlades come in a strip of tape that can be placed on the arms or legs. Because every tenth of a second counts for runners, Nike’s aerodynamic tech could be the difference between the gold and silver medal.



Whoop Strap 2.0

The wearable-tech category wouldn’t be the same without smart bands. So, of course, we have one on our list, too. The Whoop Strap 2.0 was designed primarily for professional athletes, including U.S. swimmer Ryan Lochte, who will be using it to train before Rio. What makes Whoop’s smart band stand out is its ability to analyze strain and recovery times for athletes, along with tracking common things like sleep and heart rate. It doesn’t look bad either, at least not on Lochte.



Halo Sport training headphones

The International Olympic Committee is serious about which brands athletes are seen wearing at its events. Basically, if you’re not sponsoring the Olympics, you have a small chance of being featured anywhere. Still, that doesn’t keep items like the Halo Sport training headphones from being used behind the scenes. The product, developed by Halo Neuroscience, is intended to improve the effectiveness of people’s training.

The headphones supposedly stimulate the brain to send optimized signals to the muscles. Halo Neuroscience compares the sensation to having a pre-workout meal that gets the body ready for a productive and enduring training session. If you have some doubts, the product has the backing of various Olympians, including American 400m hurdler Michael Tinsley.


Ralph Lauren’s light-up jacket

When Team USA steps out at the Rio Olympics opening ceremony, members of the squad will do so wearing Ralph Lauren’s illuminating flag bearer jacket. The fashion brand says the piece is the first-ever of its kind, and it certainly brings back memories from the 90s (LA Gear, anyone?).



Special edition Galaxy S7 Edge

Okay, we know what you’re thinking: “A smartphone is not a wearable!” But since many people, including you, keep their device next to them basically at all times, it’s a wearable by extension. Jokes aside, though, Samsung made a special editionGalaxy S7 Edge for Olympians at Rio 2016. In addition, the company will sell a total of 2,016 devices to consumers who want tobuy it for $850.

Aside from the Olympic design theme, this rare Galaxy S7 Edge comes with Samsung’s Rio 2016 mobile app and Gear IconX wireless earbuds, which let athletes monitor their heart rate as they listen to tunes during warm-ups.



Watch with Samsung’s Gear VR headset

Those of you who are in the United States are getting a special treat during the 2016 Rio Olympics, courtesy of NBC. The network reportedly plans to stream around 85 hours of programming from the event in virtual reality, including its opening and closing ceremonies. Unfortunately, you’ll need to have one of Samsung’s Gear VR headsets to watch the content — or maybe find a friend who has one.