Here in San Francisco, we are passionate about sports. Just check the TV ratings. That passion has merged with our fascination with technology to produce a growing list of applications that make sports safer and more fun to watch.
Technology has become an integral part of sports, both for participants and viewers. Athletes are using technology to play smarter or safer, and viewers are getting an increasingly immersive experience, both at the stadium and in the home.
This often creates a conundrum for sports leagues: How much should they embrace technology? Instant replay, for example, is an accepted part of American football, while baseball holds it at arm's length.
Greater proliferation, adoption
One of the earliest uses of technology was in horse racing, where thoroughbreds often crossed the finish line simultaneously and were moving so fast the human eye often couldn't distinguish winner from runner-up.
Assuming gambling had as much as influence on technology adoption as it has other sports, stop-motion cameras were rolled out at racetracks around the world.
What follows are nine of the most amazing technologies that sports and athletes have adopted. Click on the image below to check them out.
HeroCam took the world by storm when it was introduced. The tiny HD camera was quickly lashed to helmets, parachutes, racecars, motorcycles, and anything else from which a cool image could be captured. Enter Contour, which takes the technology up a notch. Contour's HD cameras have built-in GPS for trip, elevation, and distance tracking and Bluetooth capability to control a camera remotely. Apps are available to create multimedia stories that include video, data and maps.
Nice slide show, Brian. I particularly liked the BodyMedia and the horse racing camera. I know the horse racing media is older technology, but when you have a horse that's close in the photo, the technology seems amazing. One thing I didn't see was the Kissing Cam. But maybe that's covered by the Sky Cam.
For calling strikes and balls in baseball it would be most entertaining to let the umpire call the play first, and then report what the computer saw. Then the instant replays could be presented to solve the argument. The current problem is that the umps have 25 foot tall egos, which sort of outweighs everybody else.
But I don't watch baseball on television because of all of the commercials. The same for football. Seeing any gave live is fine, but with the delays for commercials it is not so much fun any more. High school games run much faster and they are a much better entertainment value.
Yes, Chuck, the technology of covering sports has greatly advanced in recent years. Even the talking-heads news shows have changed. The cameras no longer have camera people behind them. They're run remote control from the production booth.
Brian--Excellent post. I think we all can agree that technology has provided tremendous value added to sports in general. I think improvement in equipment alone has been absolutely tremendous from football helmets to tennis rackets composed of carbon fibers. I think it's represents a great marriage and hopefully the trend will continue. This past summer, my wife and I visited Cowboy Stadium a few miles outside of Dallas. The scoreboard alone was worth the visit. This also is an example of technology, cutting edge technology, applied to the "games we play". Again, really good post.
It's been pretty fun to see the technologies evolve in the sports world. A lot of the developments are also the result of cross polllination with medical industries. There is probably a whole book's worth of stories covering this subject. Thanks for the "taste".
Utiilization of technology to help with ball and strike calls is a neat idea, but it would definitely slow down a game that by many is considered to be too slow already. Maybe a red flag system as used in the NFL that limits the amount of allowed challenges would be a good thing.
Calling strikes could probably be done in nearly "real time" if there were two video cameras located someplace behind home plate. They would see where the ball passed by the batter, and the algorithm to compare the balls location with the strike zone scaled to the batter's stature, and it could be a simple red light-green light output. Of course it could also show the pitch in slow motion with the strike window displaed in added graphics. The network TV people would love that part. And probably the system could report it's call as fast as the umpire could speak. That part would be quite entertaining.
I don't know, Chas - the ump is part of the "mystique" of the game for me. Sure there are bad calls but both sides have to contend with it...I guess I'm just old fashioned but I think that technology should be limited in the sports arena. But then I don't even like seeing those computer generated first down markers - the guys on the sidelines with the markers and chains were always good enough for me LOL I think there are some really cool applications here and I can't tell you how many times I have played tennis, stared right at the ball, and when hubby called out across the court to me "Was it in?" all I could say was, "Uhhh...I don't know" so I definately see the value - just not sure in some cases that we really need to go there.
Unlike industrial robots, which suffered a slight overall slump in 2012, service robots continue to be increasingly in demand. The majority are used for defense, such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs); and agriculture, such as milking robots.
Festo's BionicKangaroo combines pneumatic and electrical drive technology, plus very precise controls and condition monitoring. Like a real kangaroo, the BionicKangaroo robot harvests the kinetic energy of each takeoff and immediately uses it to power the next jump.
Design News and Digi-Key presents: Creating & Testing Your First RTOS Application Using MQX, a crash course that will look at defining a project, selecting a target processor, blocking code, defining tasks, completing code, and debugging.
These are the toys that inspired budding engineers to try out sublime designs, create miniature structures, and experiment with bizarre contraptions using sets that could be torn down and reconstructed over and over.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.