Using technology to connect to your favourite sports

When we look back over a quarter of a century ago, there was a huge divergence between sport and technology: the latter synonymous with industry, and the former a weekend pursuit which showcased talent. Over the years, the two have become enmeshed, not just in complement but becoming inseparable, and the advancement in technology have brought a new viewpoint to the sporting world both from a spectator and participant’s standing. Back in 1993, the NFL introduced in-helmet headsets for quarterbacks to discuss plays with coaches on the fly.On a wider basis, we have seen Hawkeye technology in tennis, cricket, and even snooker recently, to not only assist those officiating, but also allow the armchair fan a way to settle arguments with their viewing counterparts.

Technology has not only helped develop and enhance the sports themselves, but also the safetyof those involved.  In 1996, two years after the tragic deaths of Roland Ratzenberger and Aryton Senna at the San Marino Grand Prix, FIA president Max Mosley led a successful campaign to modernise and strengthen EU crash test standards for the first time since 1974. Mosley, one of only a handful of people within the sport to attend Ratzenberger’s funeral, lead the proposals to amend the European Parliament requirements together with promoting the European NCAP safety initiative and forming the Formula One Safety Commission.

Personal sport enjoyment
But how do these technological advancements apply on an individual level? Tablets and other handheld devices allow the consumer to keep a vast array of knowledge and information at their fingertips.The official Formula One App, for example, allows fans to have full access to all the lap times, news and driver information at the touch of a button, whether you’re at the track watching, or at home in the comfort of your living room. Within the world of golf,you can record and analyse your swing, andview an accurate distance to the pin via GPS.With tools like the TaylorMade R1 gives you a fully adjustable club to change the loft and weight balance on a whim.

Looking towards athletics, we have seen a huge rise in popularity in fitness bands such as the Jawbone and Fitbit. These are becoming an essential part of the runner’s toolkit, allowing instant access to heart rate information and calorie counts, split times and vocal encouragement. With others like the Under Armour Armour39, you are able to determine body position through an additional chest strap. The Adidas Boost and Reebok ATV trainers prove that technology doesn’t always have to come in binary form, with integrated energy capsules to provide extra comfort and multi-surface support respectively.

Gadgets have improved the world of sport immeasurably and will continue to do so for years to come, allowing users the chance to get closer to their heroes both through the use of information and the ability to improve their own talent.