IonX - Ionically Charged Sports ClothingEngland are hoping to gain an edge in this year's Rugby World Cup by the use of a smart ionically charged fabric in the kit. The makers - Canterbury - claim that the negatively charged ions generated by the friction between their coated tops and an athlete's body provide a small but significant competitve advantage. These ions are supposed to increase blood flow and the supply of oxygen to muscles in the body.
Ionization was apparently used by Germans in the second world war to increase strength and was later used by athletes from the Soviet Union. Canterbury have funded research at Loughborough University where it is claimed that the ionised tops increased performance by 2.7% during short bursts of exercise on cycling machines. These small gains could be enough, say Canterbury, to make all the difference in top class sport.
Unfortunately, although Canterbury are based in New Zealand, the All Blacks are unable to benefit from the use of the same technology due to a sponsorship deal with Adidas.
For more information see: http://www.canterburynz.com/