Technologies of Athletics for the Improvement of Sports

Track athletics vary from most other sports since it is exclusively estimated in meters and seconds. A small amount of a second can have a significant effect on track athletics. Hence, the innovations and technology that record information from track events races must be as exact and precise as possible. The technology engaged with track events ranges from enhancing individual performance, gameplay, and even spectatorship.

Prior to the 2012 London Summer Olympics, a number of technological advancements were unveiled to improve the sport. One example includes electronic starting blocks. The previous model of starting blocks had approximately five millimeters of error. The new, starting blocks can detect more than just an athlete’s movement, but the pressure applied to the blocks. The detection of pressure ensures that all athletes partaking in a race will have an equal start. The pressure and force applied to a runner’s heel are detected to determine if the sole of the shoe left the block prior to the race start. Along with pressure and force detection; lasers, video recording, and timers were implemented to fix the previous block’s errors.

An electronic starter pistol is another innovation engaged to improve the start of track events. This model imitates the standard pistol used in track events. Where it differs, is when the trigger is pulled. Rather than working as a standard pistol, this one transmits a signal that results in the sound of a gunshot being played over a loudspeaker at the starting line of the race. In order to simulate the standard pistol, smoke is emitted from the electronic one. Also, a light flashes from the electronic pistol to complete the simulation and start the race time.

Once the runner starts, Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) chips can track their progress. These chips are so useful that they have become mainstream in fact. To record the pace, distance, and patterns of a runner, RFID chips can be strapped to sneakers. Any competitor can buy a range of chips, including reusable and disposable chips. Additionally, RFID chips differ depending on the type of event to be used, so that data can be captured as accurately as possible.

It can be described as a sporting radar. Global Positioning Services (GPS) have also been integrated into track and field. This software can not only be used as a mobile, stadium-wide GPS system, but also as a tracking chip. A position can be changed twenty-five times in a second, with details about how quickly someone travels and how rapidly that person accelerates. A major feature of this is being able to show runners the moments in a race they're speeding up and slowing down. It is possible to collect and view these data in real-time or to replay them later.

FieldLynx is a software application that deals with the scoring and administration of track and field events. This software allows access to athlete listings, and score events, and can instantly upload event results to computers or scoreboards that are in the FinishLynx network. Live event data can easily be shared throughout a network.

Technology has also recently been implemented in track surfaces, where shock absorption is accomplished through a cushion. This addition also improves slip resistance and provides more traction for runners. With the increase in traction, there is a decrease in the need for spikes on running sneakers. This can lead to crucial time gains.

Runners are not the only track athletes benefitting from new technology. Field athletes’ performances are being affected by new measuring techniques. At the 2014 NCAA outdoor track and field championships, the Thought Development Inc. laser-line system was displayed throughout field events. This marked the first time that an in-stadium laser system was used globally during a live sporting event. Not only does it enhance the experience of the athletes, but of the spectators as well. There are no safety issues with the laser. The laser can switch events. Although it is only a leading mark, for now, it is thought that this laser will eventually be able to show world records and personal bests.

Turning to performance gear, Nike created Project Swift, which produced a clothing line to improve running speed. Nike's 'Project Swift' includes a new full-body tracksuit, the 'Nike Pro TurboSpeed.' The model is partly inspired by a golf ball, with textured fabric ('dimples') strategically positioned throughout the suit. For aerodynamic drag reduction, these dimples are in place. In a wind tunnel, Nike checked this suit; and the data reported indicates that with this suit, a runner is .023 seconds faster than athletes in Nike's previous tracksuit over a hundred meters.

Sprinters are recommended for the fluid engineering included in running uniforms such as the Nike Pro TurboSpeed because the drag reduction by these suits does not perform well enough in high-speed races (because long-distance runs at low speeds as sprints). In addition, due to full-fit heat, especially during the summer season, Fluid Technology is not as successful in remote races.

Sport watches, like the Vitaband watch, are a crucial technological piece in the track and field world. This watch allows a runner to record their distance, pace, mileage, and time. That data can later be imported onto a computer to analyze further. Many watches, such as the Vitaband, are also equipped with debit card chips, so athletes have nothing to take with them as they race. The main feature, however, is the additional service which takes all medical information. In the event of an emergency during the race, an emergency number, as well as the personal number of the watch holder, is available to help the respondents serve the runner. Such watches incorporate characteristics of various technologies for athletes ' convenience.

While technologies are created and demonstrated for track athletes throughout the whole year, new equipment is exhibited prior to the Summer Olympics, which offers visibility and recognition on the most prestigious sports technology platform. Therefore, track athletes should expect the latest developments in track and field to be shown to help athletes be as accurate as possible. 

07 July 2022
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