Peter Friesen @NHLCanes / Carolina Hurricanes
Carolina Hurricanes trainer Peter Friesen (left) watches as NHL goalie Justin Peters performs a drill with a tennis ball while wearing "stroboscopic training" eyewear.
Can we improve ice hockey through disco?
This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.
Meet neuroscientist Stephen Mitroff, of Duke University. He and colleagues were curious about training athletes using stroboscopic eyewear: strobe glasses!
The eyewear’s lenses are liquid crystal, rather than plain glass. Push a button? They alternate between crystal and opaque states. Creating a strobe effect!
The researchers say the glasses hone eyesight. Wearers must focus more!
The Duke team wondered: Can the glasses improve general athletic performance?
To find out, they recruited eleven professional hockey players from the Carolina Hurricanes. For a few weeks during pre-season, the participants performed training exercises, ten minutes long. Six players wore strobe glasses. The rest, as a control, exercised without glasses.
The researchers compared "before" and "after" data of each players’ abilities.
Result? Strobe-wearing players' performance improved eighteen percent more than players in the control group!
The researchers say the eyewear could help athletes train, and recover from injuries faster.
Three-piece white suit, Bee Gees, and disco ball? Totally optional. But certainly enjoyed!