Some folks love a bit of human folly when it comes to sport. But once your team falls victim to low–class referees failure to understand the offside rule, you know it’s time to throw your weight behind increasingly extreme technological methods. Or just make you feel better when on a keep fit quest. Here’s the kit you’ll be seeing in a park near you in the not too distant future.
Using an invisible beam, robot linesmen sweep the pitch from the sidelines, detecting when players have strayed offside. Of course, it relies on them being able to tell which players are playing for which team, but that shouldn’t be a problem for the boffins. Taking the pressure off the human eye and laying the blame for
a bad decision on a floating tin can will calm terrace tempers. Not much, mind.
Belt-driven bikes have been around for a while in the cycling world, although they’ve never quite had the efficiency of the traditional chain mechanism like the one pictured, and their proprietary gears are prone to failure. Belt-driven bikes ride differently; according to developers, it’s a suck-it-and-see situation. Belt drives don’t need to be lubricated and don’t leave oil on your clothes. Industry types believe that belt drives will be the future of bike transmission, although road cyclists aren’t so excited. Could we soon see a belt drive on bikes like the one above?
Attach the microcomputer to the end of the Adams Dixx putter (www.adamsgolf.com) and the LCD screen shows an analysis of your swing technique. It then collects your data and feeds it back to a computer, allowing you to see where you went wrong – or how you holed that putt. Professionals will be able to perfect their putting technique, while newcomers to golf will benefit from a head start in the basics.
Despite all the pads and helmets, concussion is a fact of life in American football. The Riddell Revolution T helmet (www.riddell.com) has sensors to detect every head-on collision in the game. The data can then be downloaded to a computer for the coach to monitor the risk of players getting concussed. Now, if only someone would invent intelligent football boots to help physios predict when key England players are about to break their metatarsals…
The Adidas Intelligent Football looks like a regular ball, but inside, a load of electronic wizardry gives real-time feedback straight to the referee. With technology in football finally having a role in assisting a referee’s decision, never again will the question of whether a ball crossed the line have to be disputed. It’s already been tested as a match ball in the FIFA Club World Cup, and should it get approval it’ll mean an end to 1966-style ‘was it or wasn’t it?’ disputes.
Spectating on Demand
Used by Formula 1 spectators to keep track of the action, the handheld Kangaroo TV displays live video from all the cameras positioned around the track, with essential up-to-the-minute updates and statistics on demand. Now available for anyone to rent, die-hard fans and bookies will be able to keep up with the action from their seats. It’s moving into other areas of spectator sports such as golf, tennis and the Olympics, too, so you can be anywhere without actually moving.
A full version of this article can be found in the new issue of Stuff Magazine – on sale now.