Technology and sport

Should we use more technology in sport? Well it depends on the sport I guess, or does it?


I have been watching a bit of Wimbledon lately and it’s got me thinking about technology and sport. Go back 50 years and technology had a very small part in the sporting world. There was no Hawk-Eye technology in tennis or cricket, meaning that it was purely down to human perception as to whether the point was scored, or out.

Hawk-Eye at Wimbledon

Hawk-Eye technology being used at Wimbledon

This is still true of football. Some say that it “adds to the excitement of the game” but others say that it is time to move on. Last years world cup started serious discussions into the use of technology in the sport, specifically goal line technology. There were incorrectly awarded goals as well as goals not awarded.

England was cheated of a point against Germany when the referee decided not to award a goal. It was hard for the linesman to judge, due to where he was standing, however goal line technology and goal cameras could easily have verified the truth. This wasn’t the case for England though.

England's discounted goal against Germany in the 2010 South African World Cup

The ball clearly went in the goal, however the referee decided that it was not a goal

Many sports have now adopted the use of technology to improve the accuracy of scores/results, athletics, tennis and cricket are just a few. But my question to you is should other sports yet to use the technology, like football, make the switch too, or does technology just not have a place in every sport?

What do we need to know about nanotechnology?

As you may already know, nanosciences innovative advances encompass technology, medicine and manufacturing and so affect our world to more and more of an extent. Some in the scientific community are hesitant to endorse the developments and wonder about the consequences of these advances.

However, fascination surrounding this field, and lets not forget excitement over the potential for profit, is at the forefront and pushing nanoscience forward.

Nano-Imaging

When we think of a nanometer, we need to wrap our minds around the fact that this is a measurement of a substance 100,000 times smaller than a single human hair. Before any form of mass production using these substances is in place, researchers need to accurately image them to learn of their topography and composition. Observation of nanomaterials is achieved by impressively powerful microscopes. The atomic force microscope (AFM) provides for extremely high (nanometer) resolution.

Nanotechnology being used in medicine

Nanotechnology being used to modify red blood cells

Today we hear of many developments and new manners of operation devised for the AFM paving the way for serious strides in nanotechnology. Therefore, with advances in nano-imaging comes progressive research and subsequent manufacturing which has benefits as well as potential risks.

First of all, industry, research bodies and governments are not aware of the amount of nanomaterials being produced. Without knowing these amounts, how is it possible to know the amount of potential exposure and therefore risks?

Does the law protect us now?

Governments do have regulations and guidelines but new materials like these have proven difficult to classify and sometimes are grouped together with already existing materials and so not independently classified at all. Other countries are already climbing aboard the nanotechnology bandwagon in a big way and governments need to properly regulate the importation of products containing these materials. How much to regulate leads to much discussion. The “bottom line” question needs to be answered…. “Is nanotechnology going to do more harm than good?”

All in all, the most basic risk assessments cannot be made because of a lack of information. Without appropriate analysis, we cannot have adequate laws.

What are our concerns?

Communities are becoming more ‘green’ in their approach to environmental issues. Concerns are valid over the potential these substances have to contaminate our water supplies or potentially harm plants and animal populations. After all, environmental sustainability is the only option and so, industry must always remain accountable.

The potential risks to human health and the environment differ greatly from risks associated with conventional materials which exhibit different characteristics.

Scientists are at work to increase their understanding of how nanomaterials interact with biological systems such as cell membranes so as to minimize any adverse effects. However, nanomaterials are still marketed commercially by the ton. They are in our cosmetics, sunscreens and lotions, car wax, paints and clothing. As research progresses and findings can be marketed in products, the list grows. The threat of potential toxicity of nanomaterials entering our tissues and cells exists and there could be real health implications.

Industry cannot allow for health, environmental or ethical concerns to decrease or halt the progress of nanotechnology. There is an agenda here – in the end it is much to do with a fat wallet.

Developments in this field are exciting but at what cost?
The point here is, don’t be afraid to speak up and ask the questions that matter.

For further reading, check out my article on nanotechnology on my site Microscope Master. Links in my bio.

Is technology taking over your life?

Blogs.

Tweets.

Feeds.

Not too long ago if you had told someone that you spent a good chunk of your spare time with these things, they wouldn’t have had a clue what you were talking about.

As citizens of the new virtual landscape, we are pioneering new technologies at what seems like lightning speed.

It’s Hard To Fly Underwater

The ancient Greeks tell the story of Daedalus and his son Icarus. Trapped on the island of Crete (home the vicious and anatomically incorrect Minotaur), Daedalus skilfully crafted two sets of wings for him and his son thus enabling them to fly away off the island in an impressive escape.

But as they made their getaway, Icarus started to become quite enamoured with this new gift of flight. He flew higher and higher, closer and closer to the sun…

You know the story.

I think this parable could very easily be about our modern relationship with technology. Please, don’t get me wrong. I’m not against technology at all.

In fact, I’m madly in love with it. The new tools available to us today would have been unthinkable in any other period in history. It’s exhilarating to say the least.

But as we integrate more of these “tools” into our life, venturing deeper and deeper into the unknown, we have to realize we are taking a risk. We are flying higher without checking to look at the state of our wings.

Technology wants more and more of our limited time and resources. And as if right on cue, we keep on flying higher and higher, oblivious the wax melting all around us.

No one knew Twitter could spark a democratic revolution.

No one knew that blogs could provide news better and faster than traditional media outlets.

But no one knew either just how heavily addicted to and reliant on the internet we could become. No one knew that World of Warcraft could cost you your job or your marriage. No one knew that without warning their self-esteem could become dependent on how many anonymous “subscribers” or “page hits” they receive on a given day.

Who could have known?

I’m not here to bash technology. (This is after all, a pro-technology blog is it not?) But what I’d like to say is that in our adoption and usage of technology, new and old, we should be careful not to fly too high.

I wont pretend to have all the answers, but here are some guidelines to enjoy a smooth flight away from the evil Minotaur of the interwebs.

Take A Time-Out

Have you ever counted just how many hours you spend online?

Give your self a time-out every once in a while. My wife and I do our very best to be completely done with our computers by 9 pm every night so that we can actually spend some time together.

It’s shocking how hard that can be sometimes. But it’s amazing how much you can think of to do when you’re not on your computer.

Prioritize, Then Move On

Read only the blogs you want to read. Remove the bookmarks and feeds that aren’t quite contributing to where you want to go.

If you have too many sites and social media services in your diet, you are overfeeding yourself. Your body won’t be able to digest it all and it will start to make you sick, depressed, and lonely.

Figure out what is actually important to you and then swiftly and deliberately cut out all the rest. Do online what you came there to do and then move on to something else.

Discover Your Inner Chimp

Humans are social animals. The internet is a great playground, but it’s not always the ideal place to foster healthy and deep relationships.

We are genetically predisposed to want to interact with other human beings. Did I say want? I meant need.

An avatar will not provide the same warmth and connection as another person in the flesh. Find real live human beings in your neighbourhood to play with. I promise you they are more fun and they will (almost always) respond to your comments.

I’m no psychologist but the place where I find deepest and most lasting fulfilment? Yep, it’s offline.

Get Sober

About a month ago, I realized something was wrong. After about a year and half of being a die hard fan of Netflix, I realized that the amazing miracle of streaming movies and television had taken hold of me.

I was watching more than I planned to. It was keeping me up later than I wanted it to. And all of a sudden, it was hurting more than helping.

I love Netflix and think it’s a wonderful company. But it was time for it to go. I had to break the spell it had over me.

You see, I had a goal of reading more books and to improve my writing. But without sacrificing a few episodes of Burn Notice, this blog post would never have been written.

Find out what technological “tool” has a hold over you. Examine where your bigger goals are not matching up with your daily technology habits. Then get some freedom. Sober up.

It’ll be hard but it’s worth it.

Spread Your Wings

So what’s the big take away? Make sure that these new wings of yours are flapping for you.

Or in other words:

Make sure technology is your slave.

Otherwise you might unknowingly become its slave.

And if you are a slave to technology, the only place that will lead… is down.

Happy flying!