Innovative technologies have changed the way we experience sports. In this article, we illustrate how innovative technologies in sports have positively affected athletes in terms of performance and safety while also making sports more fair.
All actors involved in the sports environment benefit differently from the adoption of new technologies. On the one hand, highly innovative equipment allows athletes to move more efficiently and prevents them from getting serious injuries. On the other hand, technologies help the referee to avoid bad decisions that can compromise the quality of the game.
Innovative technologies in sports contribute to improving athletes’ performances. For a professional, regardless of the discipline, breaking records is often the main goal. In some sports categories, innovative technologies facilitate athletes’ efforts by making their movements more efficient and effective.
In this sense, one noticeable and recent innovation is the LZR Racer suit launched by Speedo for professional swimmers. On February 2008, this innovative swimsuit hit the market with the aim to reduce the racing times by 2-4%. The technology incorporated two main advantages for the athletes, namely better flexibility and a better way to repel water.
The results recorded during the Beijing Olympics confirmed how this innovative technology was successful in improving swimmers’ performances. The new equipment helped swimmers to set 23 new world records. Athletes provided with LZR racer suit won 94% of the races and 89% of the medals. Once again, technology made what seemed impossible, possible.
Safety should always be a priority when playing sport, and technology can be a key factor in lowering the risk of being injured. American Football is an excellent example if we think about the use of technology to prevent damages to the players. The Football Helmet, particularly, is one of the most well-discussed technologies. Its efficiency is still a subject of great controversy, even though the world’s best engineers, over the last 100 years, have facilitated the continuous improvement of the technology.
We moved from the soft leather helmets of the 1920s to the innovative technology of today called the new High-Tech Football Helmets. This special equipment aims to better mitigate the long-term effects of concussions and hits to the head. One of the most remarkable features of the new High-Tech Football Helmet is the presence of sensors in the helmet. These devices automatically record head impacts and signal to the sideline staff when major hits happen during a game.
Instant replay is an excellent example of how innovative technologies in sports have radically improved the fairness of sports.This innovation consists of a video reproduction of a play that just took place, and that was both shot and broadcasted live. While instant replay is first and foremost a way to show impressive plays again to an audience watching the sports event live on TV, it is also a tool for referees. When referees are unsure of what to call after a given play, they re-watch the play on video immediately after it occurred in order to analyze it. As a result, they will have a better chance of getting the call right.
The integration of this technology has been so successful that it is difficult to remember a time where instant replay did not exist. Back in the 1960s, however, early adopters were initially skeptical to adopt the technology because it was expensive to purchase. Only in 1978, the National Football League decided to adopt this new technology for preseason games. While NFL was the first professional league to adopt instant replay, other sports such as Hockey, Basketball, Tennis, and Baseball have implemented the technology over the years. Today, like it or not, instant replay has to be considered part of the game.
Innovation is creativity multiplied by execution, and the use of technology is clearly the new trend in the sports sector.
Irsan Widarto, professor of innovation and entrepreneurship at the Johann Cruyff Institute
Sport and technology are developing a peanut butter and jelly relationship. And needless to say, innovative technologies in sports will only play an even bigger role in the future.
Are you a sports fan who also likes to stay in shape? Then be sure to check out 4 Examples of Innovative Technology Revolutionising Fitness.