Time has quickly passed and somehow we are already half-way through the Olympics 2016 in Rio. In the midst of the games, I have summarised my favourite pieces of tech that have made their way to Rio this year.
- Visa has been giving out ceramic NFC-enabled rings to the athletes at Rio 2016 this year. The gadget enables payments around the city with just the tap of a finger, enabling you to be even more frivolous with your money than you have been with contactless debit cards.
- With diving being amongst my favourite of the Olympics sports, it is a pleasure to hear that there have been developments in tech that are largely for the viewer’s benefit. Garrett Brown invented “the first dropping vertical camera”, an Emmy Award-winning tech that uses an unassuming pulley system with some good old-fashioned gravity. So long as the laws of physics are obeyed, both diver and camera drop at the same rate providing the viewer with a perfect view of an Olympic dive.
- On the whole, it seems like things are getting a bit fairer thanks to the newest innovations in tech. An advanced sensory system can detect the pinpoint of an arrow’s location by 0.2mm in archery. Meanwhile, in football, German-developed technology GoalRef embeds a chip into the football, enabling it to be accurately picked up by sensors installed in the goalposts and crossbar. These are perfect examples of how tech is making sport more impartial — we have come far from the catapult-style contraption that was used for a “fair” release of athletes in unison back in Berlin 1936! I wonder how Usain Bolt may have fared with this.
- Google has allowed users the world-over to look around Olympic venues without the expense of a plane ticket. Rio streets and stadiums have been added to the Google Maps function, for viewers to virtually explore using 360-degree panoramas in Street View. Google has even partnered with eight of Rio’s top cultural institutions to create an interactive online display of the city’s famous art exhibits and landmarks.
And what can we expect to see moving forward? Predictions for Tokyo 2020 are already out there — expect to see driverless taxis that can be hailed at the touch of a button to take athletes and spectators alike around the games. There is even talk of an information desk come tour-guide hologram. It is hard to not imagine that these inventions could be making their way to the streets of London in the not-too-distant future.