Performance wearables: metrics of value

Performance wearables: metrics of value

01/02/2024 Home

In today’s era, technology and metrics are crucial for sports performance, health, and injury prevention.

In this post, we explain in detail the convergence between these two crucial elements. We will show where the main technologies and metrics are placed in a quadrant conceptualized by Dr. Peter Tierney (Health & Performance Coach, Sports Scientist, and Researcher). In addition, we will add and focus on infrared thermography and its strategic position within that quadrant and its context with other technologies.

Technology and metrics for sports recovery and performance.

Dr. Peter Tierney has outlined a conceptual framework that establishes the utility of sports metrics captured by wearable technology devices. This quadrant, ranging from fundamental metrics to those that are challenging to measure, provides a strategic guide for evaluating the effectiveness of current technology.

  • Green: These are important and useful to track, and portable technology does a good job with these.
  • Blue: These are somewhat important/useful, but the technology just does a good job with them (recovery/readiness scores are a whole different discussion, but I’ve included it here because they can sometimes be largely sensitive to large stressors).
  • Orange: These are things that technology seems to drive, but I’m not sure how useful they really are to measure, and I think they cause more anxiety than they are useful.
  • Red: Important, but technology can’t measure/isn’t measuring well now.

Thanks to this quadrant, we can understand which technologies offer us a better balance and, consequently, are placed on the more favorable side of the quadrant (top right).

Why do we place thermography on this side of the quadrant?

Infrared thermography has emerged as a major player in the quadrant, characterized by its intuitiveness and ease of use. However, to optimize its usefulness, it is imperative to consider the factors that influence its results and thus the correct interpretation of the results. This is where the ThermoHuman software comes into play, standing out for its ability to automatically segment more than 110 body regions by means of artificial vision algorithms. This segmentation method not only speeds up the analysis process but also provides a quantitative dimension, making interpretation more objective. Thermographic analysis offers advanced understanding of human thermal patterns, particularly in applications related to health and sports performance.

Usability and measurability

  • Non-invasive and radiation-free. Performing an image acquisition does not pose any danger to athletes.
  • Speed. In just a few seconds, Thermohuman software performs the analysis and displays the results.
  • Ease of use. Our software offers an alarm system as well as different metrics for the interpretation of the results.
  • Data management. You can export reports or directly the precise data of the images already analyzed (PDF reports, Excel, or connect with the API).

Combination with other technologies: added value

Thermography, together with other technologies, such as GPS, emerges as a fundamental component to establish Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in the sports field. Beyond simple injury monitoring, thermography also becomes an ally to guide recovery processes. This approach takes on critical relevance in competitive environments where athletes face intense challenges. Combining these technologies can transform comprehensive health and performance management in professional sports.

Supporting other technologies

  • Objective information on the physiological state of athletes by analyzing thermal response.
  • Knowing the regions at greatest risk, which can be accompanied by other variables to adapt training and/or recovery.
  • Follow-up of injuries, as it is able to objectify regions. This point is key for “return to play” processes.
  • Identification of the type of fatigue. It is possible to know which regions present a greater need for recovery, being able to adapt different therapies.

In any case, the added value of thermography multiplies when combined with other technologies or variables (GPS, strength tests, CK, HRV, etc.) for performance analysis or diagnostic support.

Discover more about thermography, contact us!


Colné, P., & Thoumie, P. (2006). Muscular compensation and lesion of the anterior cruciate ligament: Contribution of the soleus muscle during recovery from a forward fall. Clinical Biomechanics (Bristol, Avon), 21(8), 849-859.

Fernández-Cuevas, I., Torres, G., Sillero-Quintana, M., & Navandar, A. (2023). Thermographic assessment of skin response to strength training in young participants. Journal of Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry, 1-9.

Europa Thermohuman ThermoHuman has had the support of the Funds of the European Union and the Community of Madrid through the Operational Programme on Youth Employment. Likewise, ThermoHuman within the framework of the Export Initiation Program of ICEX NEXT, had the support of ICEX and the co-financing of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

CDTI Thermohuman has received funding from the Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology (CDTI), in participation with the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), for the R+D activities involved in creating a new tool, based on thermography, for the prediction and prevention of rheumatoid arthritis. See project detail.