Patrick Mercier

Sports app builder

People think that if you do computer science you spend all day in a lab, but I love getting out into the field. I like building things with my hands first and then building in the code. I like to see the things I make interact with the environment.

We’re developing a wearable sports tracker to give athletes instant readings on their lactic acid levels in real time. I was working on wearable technology, and realized that lactic acid can easily be measured from sweat.

Athletes have a lactate threshold, which determines how far and fast they can run, row or bounce a ball. If they stay under it, they can go forever, but when the body produces too much they “hit the wall” and become exhausted. Athletes need to stay just under their lactate threshold to maximize performance.

Currently, a finger-prick blood reading shows lactic acid levels in athletes, but technology could revolutionize their training because they won’t have to stop what they’re doing to take a measurement.

We’re talking to lots of people who are waiting for this to be ready, such as the US Olympic Committee and the Tour de France, and we’re almost there.

My advice to anyone interested in computer science is to get out there and play with gadgets. Take them out, take them apart – just go out and play.

Patrick’s path to becoming a sports app builder

>> Went to high school in Alberta, Canada

>> Completed an undergraduate in electrical and computer engineering, the University of Alberta

>> Did a PhD in electrical and computer engineering, MIT

>> Became the co-director, centre for wearable sensors, UCSO

If you loved this story about sports app builder Patrick Mercier, meet another game-changing coder here.

sports app

“Get out there and play with gadgets. Take them out, take them apart – just go out and play.”

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