How technology is revolutionising the world of sport



In the fast-paced world of professional sport, technology is changing things like never before. Here, we examine how…

Whether on the pitch or on the court, technology is rapidly becoming a major player in the world of sport, helping to make games faster and fairer.

And these gadgets and gizmos are also shaking things up for the crowds of armchair athletes watching the pros at home by turning ordinary matches into uniquely immersive experiences.

From cricket to rugby, it seems as though a real technological revolution has now begun in all areas of sport, and official bodies are changing rules to allow a wide range of innovations.

With the Sports Technology Awards on March 27 just around the corner - and the Cricket World Cup already under way - we take a look at some of the ground-breaking gear out there transforming the state of play.

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What is technology doing for sport?

  • Helping official decision-making by showing whether a ball was in or out
  • Giving TV viewers breath-taking shots of gameplay
  • Providing fans with a wider range of vital statistics

 

Find out if a goal has really been scored - Hawk-Eye

In a nutshell: End arguments about disallowed goals with information provided by fast-frame cameras hung around a stadium.

With match officials facing endless pressure to make almost instant decisions on goals and points, there had long been demand for tech to step in and offer a helping hand.

That's where British-based Hawk-Eye has really brought sport up-to-date, providing referees with accurate information on whether a ball has gone out of play or crossed a goal line.

It had been a familiar sight to fans of cricket and tennis, but it was when the Premier League voted to adopt the system that it really came into its own.

Seven fast-frame cameras are placed all around a stadium, enabling the ball's movement to be tracked and allowing match officials to be notified when a goal is scored via optical signals sent to a watch.

Welcomed by players and footy chiefs alike, it's claimed the tech is millimetre accurate and that no other broadcast replays could disprove its decisions.

Get closer to the sport you love - Phantom Cam

In a nutshell: See your favourite players like never before with a high-speed camera that takes you closer to the action.

In the high-speed world of professional baseball, where entire games can hinge on split-second moments, fans are always eager to get closer to the action.

And now a super-fast camera has been developed to do just that, providing unprecedented views of gameplay that would be unnoticeable to the naked eye.

It's called the Phantom Cam and was used by American TV network Fox during its coverage of the World Series last year to bring viewers incredible levels of precision and accuracy.

With the potential to record an astonishing 5,000 frames per second, the Phantom Cam leaves other models in the dust and can even capture the fraction of a second when a ball comes into contact with the bat.

 

Have key stats at your fingertips - SportSU system

In a nutshell: Special cameras relay raw data to expert observers, who then compile statistics using unique software

As followers of all sports know, stats are important - and experts are working on the frontlines of science to improve the accuracy and relevance of this vital information.

Over in the US, the NBA has kitted out every single one of its arenas with special SportVU cameras, which can track the movements of every player during games.

Officials can then use an innovative software system to compile statistics on everything from player speed and ball possession to time spent in the goal area and physical distance between teammates and rivals.     

And experts are now working on tracking chips which can be placed in players' jerseys to provide information more quickly, making live TV sport more engaging than ever before.