Tech Behind the Sochi Olympics

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Winter Olympics Tough on Cable Cutters

NBC will be showing more of the games than ever before. 1539 hours of coverage. All 98 events will be streamed live, and over 1,000 hours will be available online. Of course, they’ve locked it down so you can only access that coverage online IF you verify that you have a cable subscription. Seriously… I tried to find some clever methods of getting it without a subscription for us cable cutters, but there aren’t great options without setting up a VPN and accessing BBC’s online streams. Or borrowing a friend’s username and password for their cable subscription… but I didn’t tell you to do that!

Google Glass Weirdly Absent from Olympics

Maybe next go around, we’ll be watching streams from a network of Google Glass wearers. But oddly enough… I can’t find a single mention of Google Glass and the Olympics. It’s like they’ve banned Glass and have setup a reality distortion field or something.

Sony Gear Covers Olympics

Sony is a big fan of the Olympics. What you watch on TV will be coming to you from more than 70 Sony HD cameras, both studio cams and in the field. They also are using the Sony F55 4K camera, probably more for future viewing than anything. In order to get the feeds from all those cameras and broadcast them from the control room, they’ll be using Sony MVS6530 and the MVS7000 production switchers. They have over 500 Sony monitors displaying all the action. 50 EVS XT2 and XT3 HD Video Servers. 40 IP Directors for replays. They’re relying on the Avid Media Asset Management system and have 384TB of storage. Brevity is handling rendering of the graphics live, while at the same time transferring graphics to the appropriate people for editing. 50 LiveU mobile backpacks will be scattered across the games to capture the action… I could go on, and on, and on. The scope of technologies they have to use is insane! You can read more about the technologies covering the Olympics here and here.

What Future Sensors Could Do for Olympic Athletes

There’s a huge movement in wearable trackers to tell us how fit we are. Imagine some day soon that those trackers are small enough and integrate into an athlete’s clothes that they wear as they ski down the slopes. When the Jaybird Rein fitness tracker comes out, it should be taking a step closer to the possibility since it’s smart enough to tell when you need to rest and when you can push yourself harder at the gym even when you don’t think you can. Combine that kind of intelligence with technology like the Reebok Checklight sensor that can tell a coach if a football player has suffered a concussion…. you can see a future where Olympic athletes… the best of the best… are not only able to know more about their bodies during an event and learn from it, but a social future where YOU the viewer could track them as well if you wanted to!

An App That Aids Coaching

Patrick Deneen and his coach, Pat, use an iPad app called Coach’s Eye. Patrick does his thing like normal during training, and the coach records it with the app. As soon as the ski jumps are over, the coach can begin analyzing it. Take a look at the jump frame by frame, make notes about what needs to be improved on, and send it to Patrick by the time he reaches the top of the hill to go again. He knows immediately what to change. AND, the app even tracks time between each attempt so they can determine if changes actually slowed him down or sped him up.

Bobsledders Improve Performance with Ubersense

The USA Bobsled team are using a different app called Ubersense. The idea is the same. Record the motion, play it back, make notes, track progress, become a better athlete. When you can SEE what you’re doing wrong, you have that much more power to improve. And by the way, these aren’t special apps that were made for Olympic hopefuls. These are apps that you can download and use for your own training in whatever sport it is.

Bodysuit to Make Speed Skaters Faster

Under Armour is outfitting the USA’s speedskating team with a suit called Mach39. I actually told you guys about this when it was still in development. It’s a full body skin suit that is supposed to make the athlete faster. In development, they performed all kinds of wind tests and found that the dents in golf balls improve the way the ball flies through the air. So this suit has those same little dents throughout it so they can really soar.

Enhanced Vision for Snowboarders

Great Britain’s snowboarder Zoe Gillings is using a pair of goggles that cost 35,000 pounds. What can they possibly to that’s worth that kind of money? Well, turns out in past races, she’d look at the other athletes as they flew into sight – a natural reaction so you don’t hit them. But it slows a racer down. So these goggles have a camera that focuses on her eyes, and another camera that’s facing outwards – essentially HER own view. So it can track what her eyes are looking at and help her stay focused on what she needs to be focused on instead.

BMW and Crowdfunding Help Bobsledders

BMW designed a super fast bobsled for the US team made out of carbon fiber. And speaking of bobsleds, the Jamaican team used crowdfunding site Crowdtilt to raise money to even GET to the Olympics. They couldn’t afford it otherwise. They raised almost $130,000 dollars, which was far past their goal.

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  1. Profile photo of David Foster says

    I too am very surprised that there is NOTHING related to Google glass and Sochi online. I mean, do a search for it at any other event, and you can find lots of news. Is this another Snowden incident? I hope we are not going to start seeing things blocked or censored on the internet. The day that starts happening in the US, we are in big trouble.

    I do think it would be cool to eventually be able to track our favorite athletes. As I am not a huge sports fan, I think it would be cool to be able to track movies behind the scenes…or GeekBeat behind the scenes stuff. So may things that could be done with it.