Eight striking examples of the impact of scientific progress on big sport

Tennis. Faster express

Tennis is one of the most conservative sports, the rules in which were last changed in the distant 1970, when tie-breaks were introduced into the game to limit its duration. However, at the junction of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, the technical revolution made enormous changes in the technique and tactics of tennis. In the mid-eighties, wood and aluminum racquets were replaced by stronger and more resilient graphite. Natural vein strings were replaced by mono-strings – in fact, wire with a cast solid core. In the rackets and strings, they even began to use such heavy-duty material as Kevlar, used for the manufacture of body armor.

All this led to a rapid increase in speed in tennis. The “flow and reach to the grid” style of play that has become familiar to many has sunk into oblivion. Just because tennis players no longer have time to reach the grid, time after time running up to the leading strokes. The pitch itself has changed – its speed began to exceed 200 km / h (the world record belongs to the American Andy Roddick – 249.4 km / h).

Since the human eye is not able to accurately fix the touchdown point at such speeds, the number of refereeing errors in tennis has increased dramatically. What naturally led to the technical revolution and in arbitration – computers became the hedge for people.

“Fox” instead of judges

The system of modeling the flight path of the ball and determining the touchdown point “Hawkeye” made its debut in a professional tennis tour in 2006. Ten high-speed video cameras (106 frames per second) continuously transmit data to a computer that recognizes a flying ball and fixes its coordinates in space. The trajectory and the point of hitting the ball in the court are formed by an analytical method. “Hawkeye” is not perfect – the error is about 3.6 mm. However, this is significantly less than that of ordinary judges, where this figure sometimes exceeds 10 cm.

However, apparently, in the near future, an even more improved arbitration system will replace the Falcon Eye. When it is necessary for linear judges will disappear in principle. The FOXTENN Top Real Precision System, briefly the Fox, consists of 44 cameras with a shooting frequency of 2500 frames per second. It is synchronized with the work of ten lasers and can not only determine the coordinates of the ball with an accuracy of 3 mm, but also provide a lot of statistical information about the tennis players themselves: speed of running and strikes, the trajectory of movement on the court, average and maximum acceleration, etc. Moreover, the work of “Fox” is based on capturing real images of a ball bounce off the court, and not on a programmatic calculation of the place of contact, as the Falcon Eye does. This is achieved through 22 cameras oriented along the lines and set at ground level. Thus, there is even a real deformation of the ball when it is in contact with the court.

FOXTENN received a license from the International Tennis Federation back in December 2016. But the official debut of the system took place on September 18, 2017 at the ATP tournament in Metz.

Hockey: now in 3×3 format

The scientific and technological revolution made similar changes with tennis to hockey. Composite clubs allow players to throw a puck at a speed of 200 km / h, and modern skates – to double the speed and maneuverability in comparison with the indicators of the 70s of the last century.

The speed and touchiness of the game has increased so much that now in the NHL they are testing the format of a five-minute overtime 3×3 – three field hockey players for three. The performance of the game on the “free ice” is significantly increased, so the shootout lottery rarely comes to mind. However, while the classic 5×5 format in the main time of the match, so far nothing threatens.

Cricket. Progress engine

Many sports fans believe that watching video replays for making judicial decisions in controversial situations was first used in basketball or hockey. However, it is not. In 2001, a year before video replays began to be used in the NBA, this know-how was tested by another game sport – cricket, exotic for our fans. The experiment was recognized successful, and the video replay took root.

By the way, the Falcon Eye system was first used not at all in tennis, but in cricket – on May 21, 2001, in a match between England and Pakistan. And another curious fact: the main developer of Hawkeye was Dr. Paul Hawkins – a cricket player in the past.

Football. Last fallen

Everyone knows that the number 1 sport does not like innovations. However, even football fell under the onslaught of progress. The International Football Association Council (IFAB) in March 2016 finally legalized video replays in its sport. Replays are designed to help judges make decisions in four controversial points: with scored goals, deletions, penalties and determining the player who should be punished. For the first time video replay in football was used on December 14, 2016 during the Club World Cup.

Another electronic system – GoalRef scoring – football officials tested a little earlier, on December 6, 2012. However, the GoalRef electromagnetic required the installation of a microchip in the ball, which changed the characteristics of the latter and what the players complained about. Therefore, it is not used now. FIFA prefers Hawkeye and is similar in principle to Goal Control 4D.

It is worth mentioning that the high-tech football training process was invaded long before the official matches. Most of the high-budget professional clubs in training use tracking systems for players that record both the technical and tactical actions of a football player and his basic physiological indicators.

Swimming and speed skating. The main thing is to sit suit

It would seem, how can scientific and technical progress influence such a conservative sport like swimming? It really seemed impossible until in 2008 the LZR Racer swimming suit appeared. The Laser Racer swimsuit is made from a special high-tech water-repellent fabric consisting of interwoven elastane-nylon and polyurethane threads. It provides an increased supply of oxygen to the muscles and keeps the body in a more comfortable hydrodynamic position. To further reduce drag, suit seams are made by ultrasonic welding. A stabilizer of position and special compression panels are also built into the suit, giving the body the most streamlined shape. At the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, 23 world records were beaten with the help of this “magic swimsuit”. It is quite logical that in 2009 the Laser Racer was recognized as “technological doping” and prohibited.

Not less attention is paid to costumes in speed skating. To create the perfect suit, scientists use the motion capture method to create the most accurate 3D copies of athletes. Next, fiberglass models form skaters, which are blown in various suits in a wind tunnel. This allows you to identify materials with the lowest coefficient of resistance.

Curling. Do not think of a mop down

As is known, in curling athletes rubbing ice with brushes to better glide the stone, creating water microfilm on the surface. At the 2010 Olympics, the Canadian team applied “mops” of a new technological generation, which allowed the ice to be heated more efficiently than usual. If with the help of an ordinary brush the female athlete of the women’s team heated the ice by 1.2 degrees, then with the help of a new one – by 2.6 degrees. In men, the result was even higher: with a new brush, they heated the ice to 3 degrees, while the average figure was an average of 2.2. As a result, the men’s team of Canada took the gold of the Games, and the women’s – silver.