Within the last five years, the athletic world has been entirely transformed by emerging sports technology. These technologies make it easier than ever for fans to get into the game, and for athletes to optimize their performance.
Today, we’re going to take a closer look at some of the exciting new technologies in sports and see how technological advancements in sports are revolutionizing the way that we play and watch the games we love.
Arguably the greatest of all sport technology advancements has been the development of devices that can measure different metrics during a game or race. Today, there are sport-specific sensor devices for virtually every athletic activity under the sun.
The Easton Power Sensor is one excellent example. This device slips onto the end of a bat and tracks metrics such as swing speed, power, directionality, and more. The Zepp 2 Golf Sensor is another impressive example of sports technology, and it provides 3D modeling of your golf swing.
Beyond these examples, there are plenty of other sport-specific sensors that are revolutionizing how athletes look at their game.
From the athlete’s perspective, these sensors allow them to unlock a wealth of different information that they can then use to improve their overall game.
Sensors for balls and pucks are already on the market, and it’s only a matter of time before professional leagues create a system that can measure precisely whether a goal or touchdown is valid based on whether the ball or puck crossed the goal line.
Sensors have also taken the pro sports world by storm, as the information gleaned from these devices offers access to tons of advanced statistical detail we’ve never had access to before.
These advanced stats are then used by teams to inform scouting, personnel decisions, and much more within the front office. For fans, these new stats allow them to dive even deeper into the numbers to measure player performance.
While wearable tech is nothing new in the fitness and athletics world, advancements in sensor technology and accuracy have wholly revolutionized the fitness tracker industry, making wearable tech one of the biggest technology advancements in sports.
As recently as a decade ago, athletes and fitness enthusiasts interested in tracking basic workout metrics had to rely on clunky devices that were ugly and impractical. Today, wearable tech is so well designed and functional that it’s transcended into the world of fashion.
High-end wearable tech products allow athletes and fitness enthusiasts to accurately measure metrics such as steps taken, stairs climbed, calories burned, and so much more. These devices can even track your sleep and provide meaningful data on how you can improve your routine.
As technology improves, so do the devices powered by technology. The latest iteration of the Apple Watch is certified as a class II medical device by the FDA thanks to it’s improved heart monitoring and ECG functionalities.
Apple is far from the only company putting these technologies in sports to work, as other leading manufacturers are implementing similar tech in their offerings as well.
Debuting at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, VAR has wholly changed the soccer world, and it’s been adopted by other leagues, including UEFA and the Premier League as well.
VAR, which is short for video assistant referee, leverages emerging camera technologies in sports to make refereeing more precise. With VAR, a team of referees located in the control room analyzes and corrects every missed call or non-call in the game, along with goals, penalty calls, and cases of mistaken identity.
Any soccer fan can tell you, the referees on the field are far from perfect. While the human element of refereeing is a necessary and exciting part of sports, as fans, we want to see the best team (or athlete) win. VAR helps ensure that referees make the correct calls every time, so the game is fair and equitable.
Beyond VAR, the video review and coach’s challenges have revolutionized virtually every professional sport from hockey to tennis. Of course, fans are quick to point out that these systems still aren’t perfect. However, as new technologies in sports become available, we can expect systems like VAR to improve to 100% efficiency.
In the future, we can expect to see the synergy of video replay systems with in-game sensors to provide an even clearer picture of exactly what’s going on in-game.
Most of the sports technology world focuses on the physical aspect of how we play, race, or train. But any athlete will tell you that their mind plays just as large a role in their performance as their body does. Reflexion is a groundbreaking solution that helps athletes from all walks of competition to improve their mental cognition.
The Edge is a portable device that can mount to a stand or wall, and it allows athletes to train cognition as part of their existing routine. Athletes can use Reflexion between sets in the weight room or drills at practice. With multiple different activities, there are plenty of fun and engaging ways for athletes to ensure that they’re at their peak mentally as well as physically with Reflexion.
The capacitive touch screens of Reflexion measure your reaction time and accuracy to provide meaningful performance data. This data can be used to identify strengths, weaknesses, and essential areas for improvement. All this data is available through the custom iOS app, where it’s available in a user-friendly array of charts, graphs, and statistics.
This first of its kind technology helps bridge the gap between the physical and mental aspects of sports. Reflexion is also a critical recovery tool that may be able to help athletes rehabilitate from concussions and other head injuries.
From helmets to cleats, new technology in sports equipment has revolutionized the way that manufacturers keep athletes safe from injury.
Helmet manufacturers are leveraging years of impact data and combining them with technologically advanced materials to produce safer and more comfortable helmets. The same holds for companies that make pads, gloves, and other gear.
These advancements provide players with the gear they need to stay safe, without compromising their ability to play at their peak.
Human error has always been a factor in racing sports. That’s becoming a thing of the past thanks to advancements in race timing systems. From swimming to running to biking, these new advancements help guarantee that the best competitor wins every race.
Today, start pistols can be linked to the start of the clock, and laser or touch sensors can be used to provide the most precise race time possible. These timing systems also provide incredibly exact measurement down to the thousandth of a second, which eliminates rounding errors.
2019 has not been kind to baseball umpires. For years, the idea of replacing human umpires with robots, or computer-assisted robots has been gaining steam, and a historically bad year for umpires has baseball fans wondering if we’re on the verge of umpires being eliminated in favor of computerized ones.
Enter the ABS or Automatic Ball-Strike System. This system leverages new sports technologies to accurately measure balls and strikes, performing the job once left to fallible human umpires.
Using radar, the “robot” umpire can measure the exact points that a ball passes over home plate, providing an accurate ball or strike call without the influence of how the catcher frames the pitch, or how a particular umpire views the strike zone.
Lauded as the next big thing in entertainment, it was only a matter of time before virtual reality made an impact on the sports world as well.
The Pyeongchang Olympics featured thirty different events that were shot with VR cameras. These cameras provide tons of live streaming options for those lucky enough to have VR enabled devices. The NBA has also been on the cutting edge of integrating virtual reality content into their programming.
Beyond the fans, virtual reality is having a significant impact on athletes as well. Sport-specific training platforms are available for virtually all athletes. In fact, many professional and collegiate teams are building their own training platforms to help their players improve their practice routines.
From Netflix to Hulu to Amazon Prime, virtually every major content provider is now in the business of digital streaming. Throughout the past few years, the sports world has been dabbling in streaming, and that trend recently came to a head with the development of ESPN+ and DAZN.
Most sports networks also offer streaming services, allowing fans to watch live games and exclusive content from anywhere in the world. Moving forward, you can expect streaming services to continue to have a major impact on the way fans consume the sports they love.
From sensors and wearables to major strides in protective equipment to the advent of virtual reality and streaming services, revolutionary sports technology advancements have significantly changed the way everyone interacts with sports.
From athletes to coaches and managers, to the fans in the stands, sports technology is making it easier for everyone to enjoy the sports and activities they love. We’re looking forward to what the future of technology in athletics.