Technology Today…

The power in your hands

Sports – A Driver of Technology

Inspired by the NHL’s Stanley Cup Finals, the NBA Finals, and the FIFA World Cup, we discussed the technological innovations in sports on last week’s episode of Technology Today. (Podcast available

That sports leads to advances in tech may be no surprise – it pushes us to constantly advance the boundries of our abilities so why not also advance materials science to create a swim suit that significantly cuts drag and allows new world swimming records to be set by considerable margins. Every sport has seen such advances, tennis, golf, even baseball which values tradition above all else has seen advances in its equipment. And there’s even call for instant replay.

Soccer, or football as the world knows it, has seen a lot of advances in the soccer ball, perhaps the most endearing of which is the inflatable rubber bladder developed by H.J. Lindon in 1862. Lindon’s advancement was inspired by the passing of his wife to lung disease that may have resulted from her blowing up hundreds of pig’s bladders in soccer balls. The inflatable rubber bladder removed the need for a human to manually blow up the soccer ball prior to use.

The soccer ball continues to be tweaked and the current ball in use at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, the Jabulani manufactured by Addidas, “move[s] so much” that “if you just hit it on goal, you will have a chance,” according to Clint Dempsey, who scored USA’s goal in its 1-1 tie with England when his shot bounced off of the English goaltender’s hands. Adidas has designed the ball to ensure it “flies the most accurately it possibly can – that it’s the most round it can be” says director of Adidas Soccer North America Antonio Zea. In this case, several players seem unhappy with the ball’s movement and question the current innovations.

Other innovations of questionable value are in sports medicine – specifically in performance enhancing drugs. Our guest, renowned athletic trainer Tim Harvin, admitted that steroids, HGH and the like can help athletes get bigger, faster and stronger but often carry consequences, the worst of which are, in Tim’s words, “six feet under”.

Speaking of the effects of growth harmones, Tim mentioned that the introduction of growth harmone in the food supply since about the early 70’s is leading to larger kids, and larger adults, today. The idea that growth harmone given to cows to increase their milk production could seep into the milk itself and affect kids and those who consume the milk is at least plausible. Is that contributing to taller, larger people? This is something that we will try to look into on future episodes.


June 16, 2010 - Posted by | Show Wrap Up

1 Comment »

  1. […] Sports – A Driver of Technology « Technology Today… […]

    Pingback by Sports Medicine – YouTube – Sports Medicine- Let Us Get You Back in the Game | July 11, 2010 | Reply

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