- Speedo has unveiled a futuristic swimsuit concept called the Fastskin 4.0
- The suit is crafted from bio-engineered, genetically modified bacteria
- This means it is biodegradable and the fabric is energy harvesting
- Speedo claims the suit allow swimmers to go up to four per cent faster by 2040
- Such improvements could see men's 50 metre freestyle record break the 20s barrier, and the women's 100 metre breaststroke time fall below 60sFrom Michael Phelps to Rebecca Adlington, the world's top swimmers are known for their streamlined movements through the water.
But elite swimmers could soon go even faster, thanks to Speedo's latest innovation.
Speedo has unveiled the Fastskin 4.0 – a concept it's describing as the 'most intelligent swimsuit of all time.'The swimsuit has a number of futuristic innovations, including energy-harvesting fabric and a built-in AI Coach, which Speedo claims could allow swimmers to go up to four per cent faster by 2040.
Such improvements could see the men's 50 metre freestyle record finally break the 20-second barrier, and see the women's 100 metre breaststroke time finally fall below 60 seconds
The Fastskin 4.0 concept was developed in collaboration with Aqualab, and is entirely customised to the swimmer's body.
Dr Rob Blenkinsopp, head of research and development, Aqualab, said: 'We've looked at everything from fabrics and textures, to how we integrate intelligence in our suits and the result is Fastskin 4.0. The future is about to get very fast.'
The suit is crafted from bio-engineered, genetically modified bacteria with energy harvesting fabric, allowing it to power itself.
What's more, the suit is 80 per cent biodegrade once the swimmer has finished with it.
It features an in-built exoskeleton that flexes for optimal power, while the surface of the suit is bio-engineered to replicate shark skin, for excellent flow through the water.
Meanwhile, a core reactor equalises the body position in the water for added streamlining.
The suit also features an AI Live Coach, saving coaches the need to shout on from the sidelines.
Speedo explained: 'Proving itself to be the most intelligent suit ever, Fastskin 4.0 will feature an AI Live Coach, which sees AI micro-sensors printed into the suit's structure which will monitor the athlete's vitals pre, during and post races.
'Before the race, oxygen saturation and hydration levels are assessed to ensure swimmers arrive at the blocks in optimal condition.
'The sensors will then provide live coaching on technique, pace, position and condition to an athlete mid-race through haptics.
'Once the race is over, swimmers will be able to monitor and control their recoveries by accessing data such as the body's lactate levels, allowing them to swim down and rest up accordingly to be race ready as soon as possible.'
While the idea of yanking on a wetsuit would put many people off, Speedo has included an Adaptive Smart Lock Seal in the Fastskin 4.0.
'Adaptive Smart Lock Seal helps make the suit easy to slip on and off whilst locking the body into place to give athletes total race confidence, customised compression and full body coverage,' Speedo explained.
'The seals around the neck, wrist and ankles automatically tighten to your preferred calibration without the need for zips or fasteners.'
Unfortunately, for now, the Fastskin 4.0 is merely a concept, and it's unlikely we'll see the real deal any time soon.
Speedo is also yet to announce what's likely to be the eye-watering price tag for the suit.
However, Duncan Scott, the Scottish swimming star who will represent Team GB at the Tokyo Olympic Games next month, has described it as a 'game-changer.'
He said: 'The Fastskin 4.0 is an incredibly cool concept and it's really exciting to see the advances in technology and how they can be applied to the pool.
'Ever since I was a young swimmer, Speedo has been leading the way in terms of technology and it is great to know that they are always working away in the background to make sure that we have the very best suit possible. I'm quite jealous of the next generation of swimmers who will have the support of all this work.
'The AI Live Coach would be a complete game changer; I just hope it's a computer voice and not my own coach!'