Over the next month, football (soccer to folks in the United States) fans will be fixated on the drama unfolding in Brazil. Leading up to the international tournament, a large amount of discussion has focused on technology. In each of the 12 stadiums hosting games, a 14-camera system, called GoalControl, will determine whether the ball has crossed the goal line. GoalControl is the latest example of the growing relationship between sport and technology. The Internet of Things has become the Internet of Sports. Now game planning, fan experience and equipment design are experiencing a revolution courtesy of Big Data, connected devices and CAD software. Read how these advancements are influencing international play in this week’s Recently in…Sports Tech.
Every year, the Stanley Cup, the National Hockey League’s championship trophy embarks on a global victory tour. Spanning continents, crossing time zones and uniting hockey fans from Vancouver to Prague and beyond, each player on the NHL’s championship team has an opportunity to bring the iconic Cup to his hometown. The Cup’s adventures have become mythology over the years. During its travels, the Cup has baptized Swedish children, served as a feed bag for a Kentucky Derby winner and, most commonly, been used as a giant beverage container for pub patrons. In the era of connected devices, it was only a matter of time before the Cup became part of the Internet of Things. Want to know when the Cup visits your neighborhood? You guessed it hockey fans. There’s an app for that.
Former National Basketball Player Rasheed Wallace once famously stated, “Ball don’t lie.” Wallace’s proclamation was in reference to an opposing player missing free throws after benefitting from a questionable foul call. The belief from Wallace’s perspective was that if the foul call was accurate, the player would have sunk his free throws. Sounds like the kind of logic you’d hear at a medieval heretic trial or a Moon Door trial by combat in Game of Thrones. Since the SportVU player tracking system appeared during the NBA’s 2009-2010 season, philosophy has ceded ground to fact. Through a six-camera system, SportVU tracks the ball and each player on the court in real-time at a rate of 25 frames per second. The information recorded from the cameras is then fed into analysis software, allowing coaches to evaluate performance and prepare future game plans. The hope is that SportVU can bring big data to sports at a Minority Report level – in other words, the Spurs defense can anticipate Lebron James’ next move based on historical tendencies.
The Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project Inc. is the result of former NASCAR driver Geoff Bodine’s quest to build an American-made, medal-winning bobsled. After watching the USA team struggle using discarded European sleds at the 1992 Winter Olympics, Bodine applied his high-speed racing know-how with Cuneo’s design engineering skills to create a new generation of bobsleds with help from SOLIDWORKS. The result of their collaboration led to a new bobsled design, the “Night Train,” which helped earn Gold in Vancouver and Bronze in Sochi.
In bobsledding, hundredths of a second are often the difference between first and second place. Speed isn’t just a factor – it is the factor. SOLIDWORKS CEO Bertrand Sicot had the opportunity to witness this from the Night Train’s cockpit. If, like me, you’re interested in experiencing what it’s like zipping around in a sled at 90+ miles per hour, but prefer to do it from the comfort of your home, watch this video and let Bertrand take on the track for you.
Learn more about what goes into building Team USA’s bobsled on our website, where you can see the Bo-Dyn team present on stage at SOLIDWORKS World 2014, as well as download our infographic on bobsled design.
Make sure to visit the SOLIDWORKS blog next week as we focus on football and the technologies that have changed the world’s game since 1863.