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Published October 19, 2014 | Physical Education

Sport Technology Discoveries

Faster, higher, stronger is the motto of the modern Olympics. Participation is the key element for many students in physical education. Seasoned athletes or not, can technology help them perform better?

As noted in Testuz and Liardet (2010), if we look at the many controversies in recent years, it is undeniable that technology is closely linked to sport. One has only to think of Simon Amman’s revolutionary bindings from the Vancouver Olympics, the smart skis of Didier Cuche, the rigid sail of the Oracle or the blade runner Oscar Pistorius’ carbon prosthetics, without forgetting polyurethane swimsuits (Slate.fr, 2011).

One must differentiate, however, pure technology from sport technique. Take, for example, performance analysis and assistance for equipment at the cutting edge of the technology that propels athletes.

Closer to home, it's up to you to run at the pace of your cellphone’s alarm. You can alternate sequences of running and walking proposed by a professional. Just choose one of the many training applications for high-intensity interval training (HIIT) which are available on many smart phones.

At the end of your training session, you simply place your index finger on both the rear camera and flash of your cell phone to measure your heart rate after your workout.

If your cell has a geolocation (GPS) function, you can get much more information about your performance such as the distance travelled, the average speed on the road, the altitude reached and the estimated number of calories burned. It is also likely that your phone allows you to save the details of your route and the data about your personal victories to be shared like trophies on social networks. That may not help you run faster. At least not directly without some effort on your part!

Motivate the Team and Support the Effort

Many teachers already use tools to film their students to provide them with a recording of their performance such as in a jump. They can then visualize their trajectory and correct errors that are not easily detectable at full speed.
It is also common to ensure that students are breathing correctly with an application measuring physiological data such as heart rate before exertion during activities.

A pedometer application worn throughout the week can assess lifestyle beyond the physical education class.
That said, true to its mission, VTE (Vitrine Technologie-éducation) has decided to plunge into the most advanced smart objects for sport.

As evidenced by this humorous video posted by Google, it is not a question of eliminating the less gifted, but rather helping them to exceed their goals.

If your students prefer to play in their living room rather than run, do not worry! For a non-negligible amount of $1500 US, the giant behind Google Glass now offers the Race Yourself app which juxtaposes a dose of reality embellished with humor in real time to help users become physically active.

  • How about running to escape zombies?
  • Comparing yourself to your friends or to the stars?
  • Being hounded by a giant ball as in the series "The Prisoner" just waiting to crush you if you do not accelerate enough?

If racing is not your favorite activity, maybe you prefer basketball. In this case, you may take pleasure comparing your shots with those of your friends using a connected ball equipped with new sensors capable of transmitting data to your cellphone. You must have Google Glass and an application allowing you to link it with such an intelligent ball.
Finally, in the same vein, Adidas now has a connected soccer ball.

To this equipment, one can add recently publicized smart watches. It is clear that intelligent technologies are only just getting started. And you, what do you think? Do you use or would you use these solutions in your physical education class? Would you consider other uses? Please let us know!

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