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We hope you enjoyed our blog and gained some insight into the developments made by technology in sport. If you any thoughts or questions leave a comment below or tweet us using the hashtags:

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Technology in the Olympics

One of the most significant introductions to technology in sport over recent years was during the London 2012 Olympics last Summer. The Olympics is the worlds largest sporting event and requires state of the art technology to ensure that accurate readings are taken in each event and all athletes are provided with the ability to perform at their very best.

The best example of this is probably in the London 2012 athletics track which uses cutting edge technology designed by Monodo, an Italian company. The surface of this track contains rubber granules with cushion backing allowing for shock absorption when athletes run across it. The athletes are given spiked shoes for running in which use this shock absorption to penetrate the running surface and optimise slip resistance, traction and durability. When the runners reach the end of the they cross into the path of a laser beam.This is received by a light on the far side and once blocked by the athlete their time is recorded. Photo cells are then used to determine that it was the athletes torso which crossed the beam first in the event that the race is extremely close and more than one runner crosses the beam at the same time.

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The Olympic swimming pool at the London Aquatics centre was also fitted with a range of technology by Britain’s Devin Consulting. The pool has the ability to eliminate ambient water energy which causes the ripples and waves that move against swimmers and slow them down. It does this by swallowing the waves swimmers generate into overflow gutters and adjusting the water level remains in the circulation system to create turbulence. When the swimmers reach the end of the race they must touch a contact pad. These contact pads contain an accelerometer which measure the force of contact and once a pressure of 6.6 pounds is met the swimmers time is taken.

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In diving, divers are followed by a piece of technology known as a dive cam. This consists of a dive cam which can move in linear motion up and down a 50ft tube and extend deep below the surface of the water. When the diver leaves the spring board the camera drops down and is eventually stopped by a break system after the impact of the water is felt and risen back up to the top. The speed of which the camera descends is determined by the laws of physics and so for the entire length of the drop the camera is in line to the diver.

DiveCam

Video replay systems are a highly important feature of sporting events at the olympics. They give officials the ability to observe 3D replays with rotational  and stop motion views. This can often be helpful to aid in decision making and resolve situation where a controversal incident has taken place.


Probably the most advanced video replay system used at the olympics was a technology known as eyeVision. EyeVision allows for officials to view a replay from almost any angle and then rotate it to observe from different views. This replay system is the best ever introduced to sport but is highly expensive. It has only been used once since the olympics for the 2013 Superbowl.

Nutrition and Fitness Software

Nutrition and Fitness are probably the most important features which can affect an athletes performance in sport. Technology is rapidly becoming involved in the monitoring and analysing of athletes nutrition and fitness levels with software programs such as BodyByte.

training

BodyByte is a software program developed to organize and manage  all the information associated with athletes nutrition, fitness and training. It provides a greater accuracy than manual analyse and has been used to aid a number of sports coaches and professionals, allowing  to improve on their athletes diet and training routine.

BodyByte is a highly adaptable software product with a user-friendly interface that can be used in a range of different sports. It has numerous features, including giving the trainer the ability to plan and record exercise routines, compile meal and daily meal plans for the athletes, assess the fitness and physical performance of athletes and keep a record of all data found.

Sports Technology for everyday life

This post was set up to show what technology can help non-athletic, everyday people to get fit or lose weight. Over the past number of years there has been a massive increase in the amount of sporting technology that is available for use to ordinary everyday people.

  For example if you look at the above picture of a display of a treadmill. There is a lot of information  that can be useful to the average person in their quest to get fit. As you can see there is how long they spent on the treadmill, the speed they are running at, how many calories they have lost in this session, and there is also a display that tells them their heart rate, among many other things. At the end of your workout, the displays also tell you what your average speed was and how long you ran/walked in total. This can be important as if you’re aiming to get fit or lose weight, then you will want to try and improve on this performance the next time you get on a treadmill. These types of displays can also be found on rowing machines and exercise bikes etc.

Another useful piece of technology for the average person is the heart rate monitor watch.

As you can see from the above picture the watch is just like a regular watch, except instead of telling you the time, this watch tells you your heart rate. The watch uses a band that is placed just below your chest in order to read your heart rate. We have included a video of how to use a heart rate monitor watch in just in case reading this inspires you to get one! The idea of the heart rate monitor is that it ensures that your heart rate is high enough to be burning calories and getting fit when working out.

Believe it or not, video games can also be used in order to help you to get fit! The introduction of the Wii, has enabled people to play active video games. This is very appealing to people because, we feel your almost getting fit while having fun at the same time! In fact, Wii have brought out a special game that is aimed at just those who are trying to get fit and want to get fit. This game is called Wii fit.

As you can see from the picture the  Wii fit package comes with a board and the actual game itself. You as the user have to copy the exercises that is shown up on-screen. The game also keeps track of the progress you are making so that the exercises will get slightly more difficult each time you use the game. The reason for this is so that the user will get slightly fitter each time they use the game. There are numerous other games that on the Wii that will help you get fit but Wii fit would the main one. If you want to see some of the exercises performed or just want to see it in operation then you can see the trailer for it which we have posted below.

Another way in which people can use Technology to get fit/ healthy is by using websites that are aimed at doing exactly that. For example Microsoft’s Health Vault( Link posted below)  is a good website for this

http://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/healthvault/default.aspx

Obviously Microsoft’s Health Vault can be used for lots of things, but getting healthy is one of them. They also have a section on quitting smoking if anyone is interested. he website would be a great way of keeping track of what exercises you’re doing and at what level you’re doing them at. You can also use it to keep track of your diet and record your heart rate and your blood pressure and things like that. Another excellent site to help you get fit or lose weight would be You-Tube. There are thousands of fitness videos on you tube  . There are ones with different levels of difficulties for different types of fitness levels so everyone’s needs are catered for. All you have to do is find one that is suited for your need and follow the instructions of that one.

Technology in Formula 1

Technology has had a massive impact in the way that people can watch and analyse formula one. In our opinion technology has made Formula one much more interesting as a sport. For example if you look at the picture below…

you’ll see that the times of all the drivers are posted in chronological order from fastest to slowest, with the name of the driver, their team and the car number all beside the person’s time. This makes it very easy for viewers to follow who is quickest and by how many seconds.

Above is a very useful computer program that is used to give you a visual picture of each F1 car and the position they are in . This is very useful as you can see the distance that is between each car, it also gives you what tires the car is wearing, as well as their current lap times.

However technology has not only improved formula one for the viewers, it has also made big advances that has helped the drivers and mechanics produce faster, more efficient cars. If you just look at the above picture of the drivers steering wheel. They have so many options at just the click of a button. It’s certainly a lot more advanced and more complicated than your normal every day car anyway!

And if you look at this picture. This is the view that all the team leaders and mechanics have in their teams cockpit. They are constantly getting real-time data like how much fuel their drivers cars have left, the condition their tires are in, and if there’s rain expected in the next couple of minutes or so. All these components are vital for a team when deciding when the driver should make their next pit stop should take place. Another big advance made in formula one is the driver’s ability to communicate with his mechanics and team leader  back in the pit lane. This is vital because it enables them to communicate to say if there is a problem with the car, or if they need a pit stop or anything. It also allows the team to tell the driver how far behind/ ahead he is of the cars near him.

Goal-line technology

Due to many controversial goals that were never given such as Lampard’s goal in the 2010 World Cup against Germany and Pedro Mendes’ goal against Manchester United in 2005, the introduction of goal-line technology to football is an obvious one. It will serve to inform referees when making important decisions as after all they are only human and bound to make mistakes.

FIFA’s President Sepp Blatter has expressed his opposition of goal-line technology in the past however it seems he has changed his mind as goal-line technology was trailed during FIFA’S Club World Cup in Japan last December. All goals scored during this tournament were correctly registered by the technology in use thus piloting the way for change. FIFA have also confirmed that goal-line technology will be in place at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Also all premier league clubs will be obliged to have goal-line technology in place for the start of the 2013/2014 season.

The two systems driving systems of goal-line technology at the moment are Hawk-eye and GoalRef, both of which are licensed by FIFA. As previously mentioned Hawk-eye involves the use of high-speed cameras whereas GoalRef involves a low-frequency magnetic field surrounding the goal and an electronic circuit in the ball. Both systems allow for goal confirmation to be transmitted in a fraction of a second to a watch worn by a referee. This instantaneous flow of information in crucial as people feel instant replays would interrupt the flow of a match.

The introduction of goal-line technology would mean there would be no doubt whether goals like Lampard’s and Mendes’  have crossed the line

Hawk-eye in Cricket

A technology called ‘Hawk-Eye’ was first introduced into cricket in the year 2001. When it was first introduced it was only for the benefit of television networks. below is a picture that shows what the television used to use hawk-eye for. Their main use for hawk-eye was so that they could track the trajectory of balls in flight

However in the winter of 2008/2009 the ICC started using hawk-eye for referring decisions to the third umpire if a team disagreed with an LBW decision in cricket. For those of you who don’t really follow Cricket LBW stands for Leg Before Wicket and this means that a batsman can be called out if any part of his body, clothing or equipment intercepts, a ball that would have hit the wicket, providing the ball pitched or would have pitched, in a straight line between the wicket – even above the bails.( The two pieces of wood sitting on top of the stumps)

As you can see from the above video hawk-eye justified the umpires decision. If the umpire was unsure of what decision to make, then he could call on the third umpire who has the benefit of being able to look at hawk eye to make the decision. The third umpire will make his call on the LBW decision based on three main criteria:

  • Where the ball pitched.
  • The location of impact with the leg of the batsman.
  • The projected path of the ball past the batsman.

Due to its realtime coverage of bowling speed, hawk-eye can also be used to show the delivery patterns of a bowler’s behaviour such as line and length, or swing/ turn information. The above picture shows six different deliveries from a bowler. They have each individual bowl highlighted in a different colour and they are shown simultaneously to show a bowlers variations, such as slower deliveries, bouncers and leg-cutters. A complete record of a bowler can also be shown over the course of a match.

Hawk-eye can also be beneficial to batsmen. A record can be brought up of the deliveries they scored from.

As you can see from the picture above, there is a 2-D silhouetted figure of a batsman and color-coded dots of the balls faced by the batsman. For example, all the yellow colour coded dots are the balls bowled that the batsman scored a boundary from the ball bowled.

This is also a very useful picture that hawk-eye produces during a cricket match. This is an overhead shot of where all the batsman’s balls have gone. They are again colour coded dot balls which makes it easy to see what hit scored how many runs. This picture is often used in TV analysis.

Hawk-eye in Snooker

Hawk-eye was first used in snooker at the World Snooker Championship 2007. The television company the BBC used it for the first time in its television coverage to show players views, particularly in the incidents of potential snookers. It has also been used to show intended shots by players when the actual shot has gone awry. Hawk-eye is now used by the BBC at every world championships as well as some other major tournaments. In contrast to tennis, Hawk-Eye is never used in snooker to assist referees’ decisions.

Below we have posted a short you-tube video which explains how hawk-eye works in snooker.

Without any doubt we believe that hawk-eye has made snooker a much more interesting sport for viewers watch. With hawk-eye the viewers can see the same view as the players can see so they know exactly what sort of shot they are dealing with. Also if a shot goes very wrong for the player then the commentators can show the TV viewers what sort of shot he was trying to play using hawk-eye.

Hawk-eye video replay system

Hawk-eye  is a computer and camera system which was developed in developed in 2001. Hawk-eye is one of the most well know video replay systems made popular by it’s success in tennis and cricket. Hawk-eye visually tracks the trajectory of a ball and displays the ball’s most statistically likely path. Hawk-eye uses the images gathered from different high-speed cameras to triangulate the ball’s flight and build a 3D image. This image can inform match officials whether a ball is in play or not. The Hawk-eye system performs with an average error of 3.6mm.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kissmyface/635005162/sizes/m/in/photostream/

Hawk-eye can also gather match statistics relating to tennis player’s servers and returns and also cricket player’s bowling speeds and accuracy. Information such as this can be beneficial to the players as they can analysis where their weakness are and make improvements. Hawk-eye also allows the fans to become more engaged in the sport and improve the overall viewing experience.  The suspense of waiting to see whether a ball is in or not adds to the viewer’s enjoyment of the game as well as the graphic representation provided by Hawk-eye.

Here is a video of the Hawk-eye system in action during the 2012 mixed doubles Wimbledon final:

Assisting the match officials

A very important use of technology in sport is the assistance of match officials. In this day of age many sports are using technology to aid match officials when faced with crucial decisions that could change the outcome of matches. Examples of the technology being used are video replay systems and wireless communication technology with other officials. Aids such as these give match officials the upper hand when faced with these difficult decisions thus reducing the number of mistakes made. This ensures less match officials incorrectly influencing the outcome of matches.

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Video replay systems are used in a wide variety of sports such as tennis, cricket, rugby, baseball and basketball. The use of the   technology ranges from sport to sport such as in basketball, replay technology is used to determine whether a shot was released before  the final buzzer and in baseball video replays address boundary calls. Video replays determine whether a try should be awarded in rugby and whether a ball landed in or out in tennis. There are a lot of mixed feelings regarding video replay technology as people feel that it interrupts the flow of a match which takes away from the entertainment.

Communication technology is used so that match officials can get more information when making a decision. The main match official http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Milorad_Ma%C5%BEi%C4%87_2012.jpg can seek the opinion from their assistants if they did not have a good view of an incident themselves and therefore can make an informed decision. Communication technology is not as efficient as replay technology as it is prone to human error but it still has an important impact on outcome of matches and without it the number of mistakes made by match officials would increase dramatically.

We feel that both video replay systems and wireless communication technology have a positive impact on sport and in the future with advancing technology both systems can only improve. Video replay systems are becoming more popular and in our opinion it is vital we continue to invest in such systems to reduce the number of wrongly judged decisions and fans wishing “if only”.