Did you know that when they run track at this Olympics, that for the first time all runners will hear the gun at the same time. Before this because of the way sound travels the racer on the far side of the track from the starter pistol always heard the sound a millisecond after the racer near the starter pistol. This may not seem like a lot, but it could be the difference between a Gold and a Bronze medal. In these Olympics there will be a sound speaker behind each starter block so all runners will hear the sound at the same time. Each start block will have a pressure pad in it, if any runner releases the pressure faster than one-tenth of a second after the pistol is fired, it will be considered a false start. The finish will be measured by an Omega Quantum Timer which is accurate to a thousands of a second. Some racers will wear a suit made by Nike called the Pro Turbo Speed that has dimples in it like a golf ball which will cut down on wind resistance. There is some controversy over these suits, because some say they give an unfair advantage to those who can afford them. Their supporters simply say that they are just using the technology that is available to them.
Track isn’t the only sports where technology is playing a role in these Olympics. Taekwondo contestants will be wear cloths and pads with sensors in them, so that every hit will be counted.
Not all the technology that is being used is for the athletes, some is so that the spectators can see the events better. One example of this is synchronized swimming. Synchronize swimming has been traditional hard to film, because part of the action is below water and part above. Water reflex lights differently then air which makes syncing shots from above and below water very difficult. Historically it had required a lot of post work. NHK a Japanese company has created Twinscam, which combines images from two lens one above and one below water. This creates an almost flawless image of the swimmer.
So as you are watching the Olympics, remember that technology is not only being used to show you the games, but to allow the athletes to be swifter, higher, stronger.
Switched the primary recording off of Firewire to Analog to see if that was what was causing recording issue and the recording machine acted up again. Very happy to have a backup of tonights show for you to download. We are having trouble with the iTunes update at this time..
How much did High Def help NBC’s ratings for the Olympics? I would say it boosted them a great deal. While I did not think NBC’s High Def Quality was as good as I have seen, it was much better than past Olympics in Standard Definition. Mainstream sports don’t necessarily need HD to thrive but obscure sports are helped tremendously by HD and other video enhancements. The slow motion effects for sports like gymnastics and synchronized diving show small details that the lay person would not even be able to catch in real time. I have no idea how the judges see this stuff so I think they should judge the replay not the live event. Normally I would not watch synchronized diving even if it were held in the middle of my town. But I actually got caught up in it because I could see the difference in the teams through the video technology that has not been there in the past. The Chinese women’s team was the essence of perfection. It was as if one entity was performing as two humans. They even had the same haircut and were the same exact height! But to really tell the difference between them and the other competitors I had to see it in slow motion HD. It was not even close. They were superior to everyone else. While I admit I don’t know a thing about that sport, when presented in the proper format even I can recognize a superior performance.
Another sport I came to enjoy was women’s beach volleyball. The final match for gold was the American team versus the Chinese team. The match was played in the rain so the details were even more interesting. Every angle of every shot was clear as a bell. It was probably a better viewing experience than being there live, especially since I did not need a raincoat in my living room.