Tech that changed the sporting world

All sports, even the simplest, are increasingly being forced to evolve. But is this a step forward for sport or simply and intrusion of technology into our beloved games?

We've come a long way since the line and pistol days of on your marks, get set, go in athletics, from bikes with drop handlebars in the Tour De France and from men swimming in Speedos in the Olympics. 

While those resistant to change often fiercely oppose progress as interference, here at T3 we can see how a good bit of gadgetry can improve our beautiful games.

We got the chance to see the Wimbledon roof in action and we're pretty sure it's a step forward that will eventually develop its own unique place in the hearts of tennis fans. It actually adds character rather than removing it.

But is that the same of all tech advancement in sports? Do you hanker for the days of wooden racquets? Are you against goal line technology? Or has Hawk Eye made you love cricket even more?

Take a look through our list of tech that changed sport and tell us which ones you think were for the better and which have ruined your favourite games.

 

Centre court roof - Tennis
What kind of British summer would it be without the usual deluge of rain right about the time that the West London tennis club is in full flow with the world's finest tennis stars running across those immaculate lawns courts? Well the patter of rain will never again halt a top match on the famous Wimbledon Centre Court as the newly installed roof opens and closes for the first time at Wimbledon.

Closing in less than ten minutes, the likes of Federer, Nadal and our very own Murray will no longer face the dreaded rain delay leaving players without the indignity of finishing a match off the next day, and the fans short-changed for a whole day's play.



Diffuser - Formula 1
Technological advancement comes hand in hand with Formula 1 as teams continually strive to push the boundaries and the FIA regulations to get an upper hand on their fellow construction teams. In the latest bout of F1 innovation, Brawn GP, formerly the defunct F1 Honda team came under scrutiny for their use of an aerodynamic diffuser feature in the back of their car.

Channelling air out of the back of the chassis, the more down force produced in the rear wheels enhanced the speed and overall performance. Despite being challenged in the FIA's Court of Appeal, the amendment stood and with budgets set to drastically change in future F1 seasons, the parameters in which the teams must work in advancing their cars is to get a lot more difficult.



Electronic protector system - Taekwondo
Prompted by judge scoring controversies in the Beijing Olympics, the move for more tech in Taekwondo hopes to resolve some of the critical decisions which had initially caused some athletes to miss out on medals. The protectors which detect accuracy of the sense-impact level, the ability to differentiate between valid impact and invalid impact and the acknowledgment of consecutive impacts and calibration, hope to eradicate the kind of mistakes made in Beijing wherea scoring shot was not counted and subsequently eliminated an athlete from competition.

Along with introducing a video replay system, the WTF approved electronic protectors were first featured this month at its first WTF-sanctioned event, and will be ready for action in the London 2012.



Games consoles - Various
The days of ping pong and jumping barrels from King Kong being another way to pass the time are so far removed from the world of gaming that we have today that even in the world of sport they have become as much a part of their training regimes as hitting the gym.

Just ask reigning Formula 1 champ Lewis Hamilton who in his debut season admitted to only having previously experienced some of the tracks courtesy of his Playstation. Similarly Taekwondo enthusiast and London 2012 Olympics hopeful Tyrone Robinson has admitted to have taken inspiration from playing the latest Street Fighter to help him mentally rehearse moves, and sharpen his overall fight planning.



Hawk-Eye - Tennis
Having once being entertained by a fuming John McEnroe and his 'on the line' antics, Hawk-Eye has been seen as the saviour of the strongly disputed decision. The virtual reality system involving five high speed cameras high up in the roofs of Centre Court and Court One at Wimbledon's famous tennis club, accurately track the ball as it flies through the air. A computer captures the image from each camera and works out where the ball is in 3D space.

The bounce mark of the ball that Hawk-Eye shows is accurate to 3mm. Founder Dr Paul Hawkin's locating system is now commonly used in cricket and has previously been under consideration in for use in goal-line technology in football. In tennis though, it has help quell most of the disagreements, well most of them.

 

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