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Future Tech: 

Top 5 technological advances in sport

Before we begin, ladies and gentlemen, we present to you with the world’s first LED basketball court.

This is the latest in tech advances in the world of sports, and it’s pretty mind blowing. News of this extraordinary basketball court inspired us to take a look at some of the other tech wonders floating about in the sporting world.

We’ve come a long way since the Instant Reply, which is why we take it for granted nowadays. Imagine a world where if you missed a touchdown, well, you’ve missed it. There would be no more cries from the lounge, “Dad, come and see what just happened!”. No, no. Dad has missed what has happened, and Dad will have to sit in front of the screen and not even blink lest he miss another iconic moment.

Today is a different story. Technology has made its mark on the sporting world in more ways than one. From instant video replay to live feeds directly to Google Glass, it’s a different era. In celebration of the marriage between sports and technology, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most impressive technological advancements in sports today.

1. Fanmode

How can we best sum up Fanmode? It’s the app that lets you be there, when you’re not there…There, we did it.

Available both on iOS and Android, Fanmode is best known for its “gesture-based input that enables fans to express their emotions during a live sporting event, intended for when they aren’t actually at the match but are watching on television.”

If your favourite team has scored and you want everyone to know the absolute euphoria coursing through your veins, swipe up. It’s that simple. If the other team scored and you want to broadcast your anger across the airwaves, well you just swipe down. All of this data is then aggregated in real-time and fed back into stadiums. Players are then able to see the screen and get a feeling as to armchair supporters’ points of view and emotions.

Whether they actually care is a completely different issue for another day.

2. Seattle sounders

Seattle Sounders

The impressive Qwest Field – Home of the Seattle Sounders

Seattle Sounders, the USA’s Major League Soccer’s most valuable team, have incorporated the use of wearable technology to help improve performance. How have they done this? By partnering alongside business and analytics company Tableau.

The Sounders are using these wearables in their training vests during their practice sessions, helping measure how much ground a player covers, how hard they’re having to work and even sleeping patterns among a host of other factors that coaches and training staff are keeping a keen eye on.

The devices are apparently no bigger than a regular smartphone, and doesn’t seem to affect the play of the individual players. Perhaps if a company could make them small enough, they could even be worn during matchdays? Who knows. But for now, we’re quite impressed with this new method of data analysis via wearables.

3. Google Glass

Google Glass is still working out just how it can be most effective in any given situation. The fact that it’s still early in its development gives rise to many a method of enjoying sports across the world.

As this video below shows, Google Glass can be used pretty darn effectively at the ballpark during America’s favourite pastime. If you find yourself at a Major League Baseball Stadium and are lucky enough to have a pair of Google Glass sitting comfortably on the bridge of your nose, you can get a live feed of all that’s happening on the field. Whether it’s who’s next up to bat, the exact speed of the last pitch or who is on base at any given time, it’s all there right in the corner of your eye. If this is the kind of thing Google can do during the development phase, we’re very excited to see how this progresses over the next year or so.

4. Houston locker room

Kristopher Edwin

Rockets locker room

Houston Rockets: The Toyota Center got a little refurb this past year

The NBA’s Houston Rockets have been known to dabble in sports analytics thanks to the forward thinking philosophy of general manager Daryl Morey.

Morey is the head of MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, and has incorporated all of his wisdom to his organisation, the Houston Rockets…and in quite some technologically advanced style.

There have been some epic moments in the Rocket’s recent history, this ground-breaking new arena must go down as one of them. The team’s new locker room is like no other in the league, and probably the rest of the world. Above each player’s personal locker is a screen made of one long LED board circling the entire room. During training sessions as well as on match days, statistics are compiled and fed straight through to the screens for individual players. Stats aren’t all necessarily the same either, each one being tailored to the specific needs of the individual. With this instant feedback a player can see what it is they’ve done well and where they need improvement.

Morey said of the new locker room, “The boards over the lockers, I think that’s the first in any professional locker room. It will provide instant feedback from a game, from a practice, from anything to how guys are playing. There is a lot of evidence that instant feedback … allows you to do rapid corrections.”

Check out the state-of-the-art locker room below.

5. ESPN Axis

The innovative minds over at ESPN are always coming up with great ways to improve the viewing experience of its broadcasted events. They truly raised the bar when they first introduced ESPN Axis, a means to experience a particular play from a 90-degree angle or a birds-eye view. The replay freezes in time, and the angle swivels round to view it from a perhaps more helpful angle, then moves right above the action, all as a means to better understand the play.

As well as showing what did happen, the graphics system allows ESPN to show what analysts might have felt should have happened, virtually changing the play to how it was supposed to turn out.

Impressive stuff, eh? Here’s an example to better understand this nifty little procedure.

Cover Photo: Sergey Nivens/Shutterstock.com
Google Glass photo: Hattanas Kumchai/Shutterstock.com
Seattle Sounders Stadium Photo: ArtBrom/Flickr
Houston Rockets Arena Photo: Kristopher Edwin/Flickr

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