Top five weird tech in sport – summer 2014

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I’m a big believer in the saying that every great idea now accepted was once deemed ridiculous. It’s true; we once collectively sniggered at the idea that the world was round; that women should vote; that it is in fact possible to hurtle across land at 70mph without your brain getting all rattled up.

Inventors get a tough ride, and sometimes we can be a little short-sighted, casting these potentially revolutionary inventions aside. But we live in a free and open platform for creation, and who doesn’t fancy themselves the next Thomas Edison?

Technology is akin to experimentation and, like teacher taught us, it can take a couple of repetitions to get a good result. Working in the tech sector of PR for my placement year has taught me a lot. I’ll admit it, I arrived on 1st July 2013 and didn’t know what big data was (gasps). If the past year has taught me anything, it’s that the tech industry is an overflowing hotpot of weird and wonderful contraptions and concepts.

BUT, it’s June 2014, and the collective Whiteoaks office brain is more of a bubbling sport hotpot, with the World Cup, Ascot Races and Wimbledon, bringing some pretty interesting tech to the public eye. Here’s the run-down of my favourite gadgets on offer for the events – get your binoculars out and walk with me, if you will…

Top Five Weird Technology in Sport Summer 2014

1. The Selfie Stick
Apparently a big one in Asia already, and there’s a debate over practicality vs. achieving social media visibility at any cost. The selfie stick essentially allows the user to mount their camera/smartphone of choice onto the end of a stick, giving extended selfie-taking capabilities in a range of scenarios. This contraption is perfect for getting that extra inch over the rest of the crowd and stealing a front row-esque shot of the Queen on Ladies’ Day, or just for squeezing as many sweating, beer-splashed faces as possible into your selfie during half-time at the pub. Essentially it looks really silly, but does get a great photo angle. Of course, you could always just ask someone at arm’s length to take the photo for you…but then it wouldn’t be a selfie anymore, would it?

2. Magical Mystical Vanishing Spray
The refs have been whipping this out in Brazil to draw lines in front of the players before a free kick so they don’t get confused about where to stand. The white line then vanishes magically, so they know to stop standing behind it after a while. Probably shaving foam, which isn’t very tech-y. It’s received an obtuse amount of press and social media attention though – on the BBC, FOX News, The Metro… basically everywhere. Not bad for an aerosol can.

3. The Long-Awaited Arrival of Goal Line Technology
Yeah, I hear ya, FINALLY we’ve made it out of the dark ages. This one is perhaps less ridiculous. Yay for technology.

4. Tech-Heads at Ascot Races
Last Thursday was Ladies’ Day at the Royal Ascot races. I almost tore up my ticket is despair and didn’t go. I was suffering with hat-panicitis. Turning up to Ascot without an inconsequentially perfectly matching hat-and-dress ensemble is like turning up to school in your uniform on mufti day. Practically speaking, hats are also really expensive for us lesser-folk.

This year, some natty spark commissioned Gabriela Ligenza to 3D-print her a hat for the races. With the accessibility of 3D printing growing at a pace, perhaps this could mark the beginning of affordable headwear for race-goers? Will Milliners be installing a MakerBot for 2015? Probably not.

5. Sports Bras for Bros
It’s all about equality, so if a guy wants to wear a sports bra, a guy can wear a sports bra, right? But if he wants said sports bra to track his moves in a game of rugby, football etc., it’ll set him back $2,000. The Seattle Seahawks are all over them, apparently. Question is, how big do your biceps need to be to pull of one off these bad boys?