Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Connected pill helps football players monitor body temperature

Steve Rogerson
November 4, 2015
A French Ligue One football team has used an ingestible connected pill for temperature monitoring in championship matches. FC Nantes tested the Bodycap e-Celsius Performance connected pill for temperature monitoring on ten players during two games.
By measuring player’s core temperature, the BodyCap pill will help analyse players’ ability to regulate their body temperature during exercise and recovery.
BodyCap, based in Caen, France, specialises in miniature wireless monitoring devices. Using its e-Celsius Performance, the club was able to measure the effectiveness of recovery techniques such as ice treatment for players.
E-Celsius Performance is an ingestible pill that continuously monitors the user’s internal temperature, helping to reduce the risks of hypothermia and hyperthermia for elite athletes. It can also help to optimise sporting performance.
Once the pill is ingested, the sportsperson has complete freedom of movement, as there is no requirement to wear a monitor. Every 30 seconds, the pill wirelessly transmits the athlete’s gastro-intestinal temperature measurements to a monitor called e-Viewer Performance. The pill stores measurements for up to 16 hours when away from the monitor. These data are then wirelessly transmitted once the pill is back within the three-metre range.
Staff at FC Nantes used e-Celsius Performance during training and in two French league matches, against Rennes on September 13 and Paris Saint-Germain on September 26. The aim was to analyse the players’ ability to regulate their temperature during warm-up and play and then to track the return to baseline values during recovery. With better knowledge of each player's ability to regulate their core temperature, management of elite sporting performance can be improved.
The pill is swallowed a few hours before the start of the match, allowing temperature to be monitored throughout the game while player’s mobility is maintained.
The pill has proven particularly useful in monitoring players during the ice treatment phase of their post-match recovery. This method uses cold temperatures to help the athlete to recover more quickly from their physical exertions and to relieve associated aches and pains. Spending five minutes in a bath at 8ËšC is a key component of recovery for athletes, as it has a positive impact on their physical condition and their sporting performance.
“FC Nantes uses advanced techniques to improve player performance,” said Philippe Daguillon, the team’s physio and the founder of ice bath specialist Cryobain. “The club is already making use of ice treatment and is keen to measure its impact. The data obtained from the BodyCap pill will help to introduce individual recovery programmes for each player, based on their capacity for recovery, their position on the field and weather conditions. There is real value in developing and expanding on this initial analysis.”
The player’s temperature data were retrieved the day after the games. The data helped create a detailed analysis of each player’s responses and objectively measure the impact of the recovery techniques used by the club, including the post-match sleep. With regular use, the data on individual players should help in fine-tuning and tailoring their training and development programmes. The aim is to improve player performance significantly on the pitch and to study their physiological data.
“We are delighted to be working with FC Nantes,” said Sébastien Moussay, co-founder of BodyCap. “This arrangement confirms the value of our product in elite sport. The positive feedback from the players and staff at the club who tested our pill during the warm-up, match and ice treatment phases is key to the adoption of the product. For us, this is a real acknowledgment of the reliability and added value of our pill. Simple to use and non-invasive, it is one of the best devices currently on the market.”
The market for elite sport is increasingly turning to connected technologies for use in optimising sporting safety and performance. The medical care of athletes uses leading-edge technology resources to study sports physiology. Professional sports such as cycling, rugby and football lead the way, due to the nature of these sports and the financial stakes. In Europe, there are at least 100 football clubs that could have an interest in this technology.
“The next big step for our company is the routine use of our pill in elite sports such as cycling, rugby or long-distance running,” said Moussay. “We are currently working with partners in these sectors and are receiving a large number of inquiries. We also plan to export to the US, where the market for elite sports uses different models from European sport.”
BodyCap will be attending the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas from January 6 to 9, with a view to entering the US market.
BodyCap was founded in 2011 by Fabrice Verjus, doctor of electronics, and Sébastien Moussay, sports science PhD. The company is based in Caen, France, and has 19 employees. It has an exclusive licence for use of a Philips patent and owns two other patents. Between 2013 and 2014, BodyCap raised €1m from French investment fund, Go Capital.