evoluciondeporte-300x187Technology has been closely linked to the development and progress of the human race from the very beginning. It has allowed us to adapt to our environment, meet basic needs, and satisfy our desires. The advancement of technology shows no signs of stopping, and is present in all aspects of our day-to-day lives. It brings greater quality of life and increased productivity in almost any task, including improved athletic performance, among other benefits.

Sport has been no exception to the technological revolution. Technology has been applied to a multitude of fields and disciplines, often with considerable success.

Technology to improve athletic performance

Athletes can use mini computers capable of monitoring a wide range of parameters; computer or mobile applications which record data for analysis; and special sportswear which aims to give a competitive advantage, surpass personal bests, and beat records.

A good example of this technology would be cadence sensors for cyclists, heart rate monitors and related applications for recording all types of data. Some of these apps created by big sports brands, such as the  miCoach multi-sport and Nike+ Running apps. Others are created by independent developers who also provide accessories like heart rate monitors or wristband fitness trackers. Two examples of apps for mobile devices are Fitbit and Runtastic.

When it comes to sportswear and technology, there are well-known cases like the controversial swimwear which swimmers have gone on to beat multiple records in. This swimwear, designed with non-synthetic fabrics which in some cases aim to imitate sharkskin, improves the buoyancy of athletes and makes them more aerodynamic.

Also benefiting from this type of technology are football shirts and tennis shirts. Football shirts now incorporate sensors which monitor the physical condition of athletes in real time. Gone are training sessions where athletes had to be covered in wires and electrodes. Tennis shirts are now made using materials which wick away sweat, improving the regulation of body temperature and optimising movement.

Real-time and video replay technologies

In addition to improving athletic performance, technology is also used in sport to measure results more accurately. This type of technology aids judges and referees in their decisions.

An example of this would be super slow motion cameras, which in some cases can be controlled from a mobile device, and which offer spectacular images for sports fans watching at home.

Having said that, this technology has not been developed solely with professionals in mind. You can buy one of these cameras yourself, allowing you to record your own sporting experiences in an original way. Use it when taking part in any sport, from cycling to surfing (if you have a waterproof camera) or even bungee jumping.

Perhaps the best known of these technologies is Hawk-eye. Used in ball sports, particularly tennis and most recently football, it allows judges to determine exactly where a ball landed whenever this is contested.

Result of a Hawk-Eye verdict

Result of a Hawk-Eye verdict

This system requires at least four (usually more) strategically placed high speed cameras. From the images generated by these cameras, calculations are made to determine the trajectory of the ball and trace its path.

Another widely-used technology in this ambit is the photo finish, used in races to check who crossed the finish line first. Telemetry and sensors also play an extremely important role in analysing data in sport, in particular motorsports, by sending real-time information on both the vehicle and the driver.

Wind tunnels are yet another example of sports technology. Using computational fluid dynamics, they analyse the wind resistance of people or objects to develop aerodynamic materials.

Technology in sports medicine

Sports medicine is another field which has been strongly influenced by technology. Training and nutrition plans have been created based on knowledge of the chemical make-up of foods, and nutritional supplements have been created to delay the onset of fatigue or give athletes a boost of energy at critical points.

In addition, sophisticated edible computers have been developed which are capable of preventing or healing injuries and even avoiding so-called sudden athlete death syndrome, which has been known to affect elite sportspeople. Developed by NASA, these edible sensors are the same as those used by astronauts. They contain a quartz crystal and a microscopic battery wrapped in silicon which monitor athletes’ vital statistics, preventing anything more serious than tiredness.

Another example of technology being applied to sport are hypobaric chambers. These systems simulate the atmospheric pressure at high altitudes to get athletes used to the lack of oxygen.

Other examples of sports medicine technology are lactate analysers, biochemical analysers, and electrocardiograms.




Finally, although they have been around for more than a decade, it is now that eSports are reaching their peak. This term was coined to describe videogames championships held around the world. Streaming platforms like Twitch and YouTube Gaming have played a significant role in the recent success of eSports.

This enthusiasm for eSports stems from two key events which led to a sudden increase in fans all over the world. The first was ESPN’s broadcast of the final of the League of Legends tournament in October 2014. The second was when Robert Morris University Illinois started giving sports scholarships to gamers.

Other games of great significance in eSports are FIFA, Battlefield, Street Fighter, Pokémon and Need for Speed. As you can see, there is an enormous variety of games to choose from, encompassing all genres and tastes.

If you love videogames and dream of someday taking part in a big tournament, you will be pleased to know that with your BQ device and the videogame Hearthstone Heroes of Warcraft you can take part in tournaments which take place throughout the year. For more information, visit the website.

As you’ve seen, technology can be applied to almost any sport, with athletes using technological advances as a supplement to improve their results. Of course, technology will never replace motivation, proper training, and correct nutrition.

You’ve now seen what technology has contributed to sport. I’ve outlined some of the best known technologies in this article, but I have only just scratched the surface. If you’re a lover of both sport and technology, you’ll surely be able to name more. Let us know in the comments below.

Raúl Cifuentes (known in the forum as Raulete) is a micro systems technician. For some time now he has worked as an editor for MyBQ, Smartphone MVP, BQ tablet beta tester and active member of the BQ forum. His passion for technology, the Android world, benchmarking and "tinkering" with devices has led him to create his own blog on the Android world. He also appreciates high-quality image and sound.