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GPS golfing device tells you how far it is to the green

June 5, 2006 It’s only a game, but we’ve mentioned before the amount of attention that golf gets from inventors and entrepreneurs. In the last few years we've written about a Golf robot designed to help everyone feel the perfect swing, an ingenious wireless motion capture system designed to provide detailed remedial assistance for your swing, a new technology from Yale which enables you to hear your golf swing and numerous golf simulators (here, here, here and here) so you can practice all day long. We've reported on an electronic golf ball finder, a golf ball finding system and a pair of golf ball finding glasses. Just recently we've even covered a solar-powered Golf Bag and Bushnell's Yardage Pro Range Finder. Now there’s a new US$400 handheld golf course measuring device that's designed to answer the age-old question: “How far is it to the green?” It shows distance from the tee (or wherever else you are on the course) to the front, center and back of the green, together with up to fifteen hazards. Courses are available for downloading from the web or players can map courses themselves using the device.  Read More


May 24, 2006 Nike and Apple have announced a partnership designed to bring the worlds of sport and music together with the launch of innovative Nike+iPod products. The first product developed through this partnership is the Nike+iPod Sport Kit, a wireless system that allows Nike+ footwear to record time, distance, calories burned and pace with info displayed on the iPod nano screen and real-time audio feedback through headphones. The new Nike+ Air Zoom Moire is the first footwear designed to talk to the iPod and Nike plans to make its other footwear styles Nike+ ready too. It’s simple and in our opinion gives you scant info you can’t get better another way – it’s just an in-shoe sensor and a receiver that attaches to the iPod. While we think the first product is a bit lame, it’ll be interesting to see what happens when Apple, the most consistently innovative company of the last 25 years, and Nike combine technologies with the reach of both companies. With two such innovative parents, we suspect some interesting children will be spawned. Our educated guesses at what they would logically be evaluating as potential products might include new capabilities such as a heart rate monitor to make the 24 hour a day calorie counter more accurate and to enable other useful data to be monitored, GPS functionality for additional info on position and speed and so we can be notified when we’re passing points of interest and hear a podcast about them should we choose, a blood oxygenation and lactose monitor for people who run really long distances, … oh, and maybe a cool Nike cap with a little heads up display incorporated so we can watch video podcasts without headbutting a lamppost.  Read More

The BallFinder SCOUT electronic golfball finder

April 23, 2006 We’ve written about a few golfball finding mechanisms in our time, but none are as expensive or as accurate as the BallFinder SCOUT. The device exhibits an astonishing capability in digital imaging and tracking technology, using a video-based camera which can search up to 600 square feet in one second or almost 1/7 of an acre in 10 seconds. Each two megapixel image (two million pixels) is analysed pixel by pixel in nanoseconds and once a ball is found the device vibrates and reveals the ball’s location on the screen. The SCOUT finds balls hidden deep in rough if just three dimples are showing. As little as 1% of a standard white ball needs to be visible before BallFinder SCOUT will find it and guide a golfer to its resting place.  Read More

World’s first fully customised football boot

April 11, 2006 Rapid manufacturing and rapid prototyping machinery is not new, and has been written about many times across these pages – in essence, these machines print 3D objects in the same way an inkjet printer works. Each time we run such a story, it is extraordinarily well read as a high proportion of our readers explore the latest developments in the process. Now it seems, the rapid manufacturing concept will yield a new era in manufacturing products for individuals based on three dimensional scans of their body – garments, helmets, or boots that fit just one person perfectly. British company P2L has announced a football boot designed uniquely for the individual player using selective laser sintering. The Assassin is the name of the new soccer boot featuring laser sintered outsoles and hand-crafted one-piece leather uppers. Each boot is sculpted to the individual's foot. The upper is made of exclusively sourced calfskin from Italy which can be manipulated using sophisticated technology to adapt colour, appearance and function to the athlete's needs.  Read More

The MP3 sports shoe to grow into full body network

April 10, 2006 “Like many great ideas, this one grew out of my frustration with existing products on the market,” says LL International’s President and CEO Lavetta Willis. “I love to work out to music but also wanted to be hands free and wireless. When hiking or running, I want to reach for a water or cell phone without the complications of an mp3 player strapped to my body, never mind the wires always getting in the way.” The initial application under the Code M System product umbrella is a shoe that delivers music to a wireless headset. The delivery system consists of two key components seamlessly built into Dada shoes, offering easy access to your music with no wires and no digital music device to carry on your person. Willis adds, “Hands free working out! Hands free living!”  Read More

PowerBreathe- dumbells for your lungs

April 2, 2006 As science has focussed on human fitness and wellbeing over the last few decades, our understanding of the benefits of exercise has grown immensely. “Use it or lose it” applies to every aspect of human performance, and it’s now been proven that regular mental exercise improves your ability to think. So perhaps we should consider specialised training for the lungs? The lungs are without doubt one of the keys to all human performance as they supply the body with oxygen. Every 24 hours the average human takes over 20,000 breaths, with physically active people pushing towards 30,000 breaths. Most people assume breathing is controlled automatically, like our heartbeat, but the truth is that we can learn to breathe better. That’s the thinking behind the POWERbreathe training system – by exercising and strengthening the muscles we use to breathe (the inspiratory muscles) we can help alleviate breathlessness, improve all-round fitness and even maximise the effectiveness of other muscles used in exercise.  Read More

A new breed of computer human interface for sports video game fans

March 22, 2006 From the time the first steering wheel controller was hooked to a computer, the future of video game controllers grew exponentially larger. Whatever the game being played, there was bound to be something that could be manufactured that would enhance the realism of the experience. Qmotions is a company devoted to creating new kinds of interactive experiences that combine real-world physicality with the immersive virtual environments found in computer and console video games and at last month’s American International Toy Fair 2006 it rolled out several new such interfaces, most notably its Xboard (for surfing, skateboarding, snowboarding and windsurfing video games), and Qmotions-Fun Fitness, a new device that converts recumbent bikes into video game machines, offering a compelling way to get fit and play games at the same time. There’s also a golf and a baseball controller, offering a diverse range of indoor fun for otherwise outdoor activities.  Read More

Soccer World Cup promises forefront of live sport services

March 5, 2006 The FIFA World Cup has inspired more than a few brave plans for the employment of technology over the past few years, many of which never materialised. One that will be on show when the world descends on Germany in June and July is Servingo, a personalized portal designed to help the three million expected visitors to find their way around the twelve World Cup venues from Berlin to Munich. Every conceivable aspect of information related to the tournament is aggregated through the portal which was built at a cost of eight million euros with a view to helping World Cup visitors feel that they are "visiting friends". The portal is amazing, with a range of innovative features such as personally-tailored information systems and personal diary pages, but the highlight is the 3D reconstruction of scenes from the soccer match that enables the viewer to view a replay of key scenes from any point in the stadium – from the referee's perspective or the eyes of the goalkeeper. To make this possible, the team constructed 3D models of stadiums and compiled catalogs of players. An ingenious software program manages to generate the scenes from TV images. Sophisticated algorithms compare the 'visual template' of the virtual 3D players with the TV image and keep adjusting the virtual player's posture until it matches the video image. In this way, picture by picture, a scene from the match can be reproduced from any angle.  Read More

Redesigning the cricket helmet

February 28, 2006 Cricket is one of the oldest and most original of all modern sports, originating somewhere between 700 and 900 years ago in England, with international competition beginning a century ago and almost no major rule changes since. As incredible as it may seem to the uninitiated in this most beguiling of contests, each international match lasts 30 hours over five days and often ends without a result, with each international series comprising five such matches (150 hours) also frequently ending without a clear winner. Played with a small, very hard ball which is bowled (thrown with a straight arm), at up to 160 km/h, it is illustrative of the staid mindset afflicting the governing body of the sport that helmets for the human being in the firing line were not introduced until 30 years ago despite a history of horrendous injury. Like nearly everything else in a sport afflicted by stubborn traditionalism, the design of the cricket helmet has trailed well behind the technologies available and with mid-2004 university tests showing that helmets can delay a batsman’s reactions by up to a quarter of a second, you’d think that we might have seen a rethink of cricket helmet design since then, but we haven’t noticed one. Inspired by those tests, designer Ravinder Sembi has reengineered the cricket helmet with a view to overcoming this fundamental problem.  Read More

Ultraportable ultrasound in use at Torino Winter Olympics

February 27, 2006 At each Olympic games, each country seeks to optimize its available athletic talent pool with the latest training, medical and technological expertise because the difference between a medal and nothing can be miniscule. A perfect example of this is the British Olympic team’s use of the GE Healthcare LOGIQ Book XP, the world's smallest, full-function multi-purpose portable ultrasound unit at the Torino Olympic Winter Games. The portable 5 kilo diagnostic scanner "in a backpack" allows instant diagnosis and more accurate examination, diagnosis and treatment of athlete injuries slope-side, rink-side or in the locker-room.  Read More

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