Sport. It’s not an activity that many would associate with cutting edge technology, and indeed when one thinks of sport the mud, sweat and exertion are far more likely to come to mind than some modern innovation such as goal-line technology.
The use of innovative technologies is rife within many sports however, and they’ve made sports better in a vast number of ways.
Take the world of tennis, for instance. Here the innovation of Hawk-Eye technology has utterly changed the fast-paced game, and improved the prospects of both fans, players and organisers. An officiating system, Hawk-Eye is the only ball-tracking technology to have passed the ITF’s incredibly strict rigours of testing, and now comprises a big part of the ATP, ITF and WTA tennis competitions, officiating over sixty games annually.
The system works by training cameras on the pitch. When a ball bits a certain part of the court, four dimensions of measurement are collected, with the trajectories of the balls being measured in slow motion to find the exact place where the ball hits the ground.
Hawk Eye can even track the players themselves, creating heat maps that can assist teams in the improvement of players’ skills.
Sport tech isn’t just focused on the scoring though. In the betting world, a booming industry of late, companies such as Bookmakers.com have moved towards providing net-based innovations such as live odds updates and the ability for players to place wagers whilst the game itself is being played. With all of these being done via algorithms and other mathematical sureties as supposed to number-crunching humans, punters can now be surer than ever that the bets they have placed are legitimate and safe.
What about the actual implements used in sports though? In golf, the clubs used by players long ago departed from the use of heavy wood and metal materials and designs. Today they are crafted out of carbon fibre, incredibly lightweight aluminium and have all manner of scientifically-tested features packed inside the club. The same goes for golf balls, which are now constructed with four or more layers in order to boost the distances of strikes. The size of the head of the club has also grown over the years, a move ostensibly undertaken with the aim of improving hit rates and massively boosting the aerodynamics of the club whilst in flight. Tennis rackets are now generally crafted out of ultra-lightweight carbon, the same going for any racket- or stick-based sport.
Technology is only going to become a more integral aspect of sport, but where should we draw the line? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section.
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One of the Editors for Tech on the Go, I love covering mobile tech and social media. I also manage the reviews we cover so all the writers stay on my good side!