Posted by Anthony Mowl in ALL, EQUIPMENT, STADIUM on 09-07-11 No Comments
It was a long and miserable football-free spring and summer for me, but the season is finally here. I plan to attend a few NFL games this year, and tailgating is more than half of the experience for me. I like to arrive at the parking lots as soon as the gates open, and leave the game early to beat traffic if the game turns out to be a snooze-fest. The tailgate party makes the experience for me.
While most of my tailgating parties simply involve beer and liquor, with a side of potato salad, there is a whole lot of gear that you can bring along with you to create the ultimate tailgating experience. Satellite dishes, mobile wi-fi hot spots and flat screen TVs just scratch the surface of what people are bringing to games these days.
Dish Network just came out with a new “Tailgater Antenna” which is a compact 10-pound dish designed for tailgating. The antenna comes in at a cool $350 with an HD receiver option. They allow you to activate your antenna for as little as $7 a month during the season. And now that the Dish Network carries the MLB Network, you’ll be able to fully enjoy the fall overlap of football and baseball. If you’re not crazy about lugging along a generator to plug in all these things, you can just find a parking spot near the big-screen TVs found in many tailgating lots, or piggy back off a neighboring party.
While people have been tailgating with televisions and satellite dishes for years, there is still new, geeked-out stuff you can bring without having to put up with the chugging of a generator. Play with an RC remote-controlled beer cooler on wheels and cart around your beer with a grown-up version of a remote-controlled car. Add Brookstone’s Grill Alert Talking Remote Meat Thermometer to help you cook your burgers, and you can keep your eyes on one of several fantasy football apps on your iPad or mobile phone without burning the meat.
I’m personally wary of bringing high-end electronics to an outdoor party packed with drunk and sometimes out-of-control people. Not to mention leaving them in my car while I’m inside a stadium for several hours (both the high-end electronics and the drunk passed-out people). I doubt I’ll ever pimp out my tailgate party with satellites and televisions. But I have no problem visiting your parking space and catching the pregame shows. You bring the gas for your generator, and I’ll bring the beer for your trouble.
Posted by Anthony Mowl in EQUIPMENT on 08-25-11 2 Comments
So the next conference of “Stuff-to-be-banned” is happening next week in Melbourne, Australia. Who can forget the now-banned Speedo LZR full-body swimsuits that broke 43 world records in a single World Championships? Now scientists of the type who came up with the LZR are coming back for seconds at the Asia-Pacific Congress on Sports Technology.
Be on the lookout for new world records and banned products in kayaking, badminton, and cycling with workshops next week on:
- Instrumentation of a kayak paddle to investigate blade/water interactions
- Aerodynamic properties of a shuttlecock with spin at high Reynolds number
- Fabric testing for cycling skinsuits
And in the ultimate example of finding a way around the word no, you can attend “An evaluation of swimsuit performance,” and “Microstructures an aerodynamics of commercial swimsuits.” Or how about we tinker with swimming some more so we can break some more world records just for the sake of taking the athlete out of the sport, and have scientists come up with a new starting block? You can check out “The effect of start block configuration and swimmer kinematics on starting performance in elite swimmers using the Omega OSB11 block.”
While scientific research in general is important, I can hardly see how putting bright minds together to improve kayak paddles or swimsuits is going to help the world. A new shuttlecock? Seriously? Do we really need these things? Another golf ball that goes further (A study of golf ball aerodynamic drag), or a newer soccer ball (Aerodynamics of contemporary FIFA soccer balls) sounds to me like excuses to get people to buy more stuff. What’s wrong with the balls we have now? They’re round enough, aren’t they? There’s plenty of work to be done in regards to global warming, efficient energy, or making a tablet computer that could actually compete with the iPad. Or how about we help Matt Damon out and get some clean water to Africa?
With conventions like this and scientists working on these projects, it looks like we’re getting to the point where instead of going to a sporting event, I might as well just rent a movie. At least a good movie can be less predictable than sports have become.
Posted by Alex Dalenberg in EQUIPMENT on 08-12-11 No Comments
Luckily, there’s a breakthrough coming in this area. Respect Your Universe, Inc., a new Las Vegas-based MMA apparel company, announced this week that it’s filing a patent for what it’s calling radical new waist closure technology. In other words, the ultimate fly for ultimate fighters.
There aren’t many details yet, but apparently the old velcro closures weren’t sitting well with the MMA crowd said RYU CEO Christopher Martens.
Per the release: “One of the first things we did was reach out to the fighters. What we soon discovered was that almost universally the talk turned to the bulky uncomfortable layers of Velcro being used in the fight shorts. MMA rules forbid the use of string, metal and other hard materials, so the choices were seen to be limited. We knew right away, this was the first problem we needed to solve, and with our creation of this proprietary technology and our patent filing to protect it we believe we have risen to the challenge and are confident our hard work has paid off.”
RYU (which according to its website is pronounced roo) doesn’t have an online store up yet, but you can check out some of their next-gen fighting duds here.
Pretty sharp. And as you can see, these guys takes shorts seriously. Here’s a bit from the company mission statement about its Warrior Ethic:
During the ancient period, armor was a symbol of belonging to a higher Samurai clan and worn with pride. Its many parts, details and lucky symbols formed a meticulous, integrated whole, the aesthetics of which were given close attention. Combat equipment for higher-ranking samurai formed works of art. Soldiers were supposed to resemble demons, so their appearance had to be frightening. Their armor was decorated with images of dragons, tigers and insects, or beautiful patterns.
No word on how the 12th century Japanese buttoned their trousers.
Posted by Anthony Mowl in ALL, EQUIPMENT on 08-09-11 No Comments
Want to hit as well as Ichiro Suzuki? Or how about Mickey Mantle? If only you could have some batting practice time with them. Any good hitter will tell you the secret never truly was “The Clear” or whatever came out of BALCO’s labs. It’s in the swing. RightViewPro will testify to that, because they’re putting your swing up against the greatest in the game.
The folks over there came up with a whole line of products to help turn bad hitters into good ones, and good ones into great ones. And they know what they’re doing. They put together an all-star team that includes coaches and former professional players — including former major league catcher Don Slaught — and put them in a room with a couple Ph.Ds. As a result, they produced software that will let you examine the technicalities of your swing in slow motion for a direct comparison against the great hitters of all time.
They’re selling the software for only about $75 depending on what version you want, and it works with your existing cameras and computers. It allows coaches and players everywhere to get instant analysis of players’ swings. But we’re not talking hitting balls off a tee here. Pitches come at all types of speeds, from knuckleballs to fastballs, and it’s difficult to practice that on your own without actually having pitchers who can throw at various speeds so you can get your timing down. RightViewPro also sells XLR8 practice balls, which are built so each ball goes at different speeds no matter who’s doing the pitching, allowing players to work on their timing even with a kid brother in the backyard.
More sophisticated programs can buy RightViewPro’s cameras and install them in stadiums, practice fields and batting cages to get more consistent footage and analysis over longer periods of time. Plenty of teams have bought into the system, including the Boston Red Sox, the U.S. National Softball Team, and numerous major college programs.
The software looks simple and useful for players who need more concrete feedback from their coaches. It gives serious players stuck with bad coaches a chance to improve their game on their own, and gives coaches a set of baseline examples that might persuade players to actually listen to them.
Video systems like this one are penetrating sports everywhere. Golfers depend on them for feedback on their swing, and runners are analyzing how they start out of the blocks. The interesting thing about technology’s revolution in sports is that few advances have truly penetrated the games, themselves. Instant replay is still very limited and RFID chips still aren’t found in balls and pucks to pinpoint their locations. But when it comes to practice, technology is taking over and are becoming a serious element. It’s not practice makes perfect anymore. Algorithms make perfect.
Posted by Anthony Mowl in EQUIPMENT on 07-29-11 2 Comments
I’m a little Dutch girl
Dressed in blue.
Here are the things
I like to do:
Salute to the captain,
Bow to the queen,
Turn my back
On the submarine.
I can do the tap dance,
I can do the split,
I can do the holka polka
Just like this.
All of the little Dutch girls on schoolyard playgrounds had better check to see if they’re wearing the right shoes. Ropix founder Dennis Dwyer has come up with the first shoe specifically for jump roping. As a New York City boxer in the early 1990s, Dwyer spent a lot of time jumping rope. He felt that neither boxing shoes nor sneakers gave him the support he needed to jump rope for a long time, so he came up with The Forefoot trainer, “a system made of a dual density rubber material with a soft cushion landing pad in the ball of the foot. The mid-sole turbine insert is designed to attenuate shock and made of soft bounce rubber material.”
In other words, it’s a special shoe that I could salute the captain and bow to the queen with. The design is sleek and looks cool, but at $80-$90 a pop for something I can only do one thing with, I figure I’ll pass. Even Ropix’s website says, “You don’t have to jump with a pair of Ropix, but you’ll know you can…” I’m not really sure what that’s supposed to mean. That same page says that “The cross-trainer was invented more as a marketing need rather than an equipment requirement.” Quite frankly, I think Ropix fills this same gap. A shoe for jump rope? Unless you’re one of the 12 teams competing at the World Jump Rope Championships, the shoe sounds like a marketing need to me too.
While I can understand that a person who spends a lot of time jumping rope may find this shoe beneficial, jump rope is just one piece of a training session for a lot of athletes. Having to change shoes to do different activities over the course of a workout just doesn’t seem to be something that will become widespread. The shoe is only available online at Ropix’s website, and it’s likely to stay that way.
As for all the little Dutch girls, they’ll probably continue using their Sunday shoes in the playground.
Posted by Silissa Kenney in EQUIPMENT on 07-25-11 No Comments
When technology meets skin, women everywhere win. A new sports bra from the lingerie company Panache promises to eliminate the, uh, bounce that large-breasted women experience when exercising or playing sports. Now women can get racy in a whole new way — like running a marathon in comfort. You might not realize it, but the bounce is not all that fun. In fact, it’s downright uncomfortable.
This new sports bra, coming in October, is specifically designed for women with cup sizes D to H and promises to reduce bounce by 83 percent. Sounds pretty scientific, doesn’t it? Well it is. The bra was tested on a 32E model running on a treadmill using 3D motion sensors. Instead of flattening the breasts, the Panache bra is supposed to be like two hands cupping the breasts, providing support. OK, we knew we weren’t going to get through this post without inducing some snickering, so go ahead.
The truth is, a great sports bra is as important as any other piece of sports or excercise equipment. You spend time choosing the best sneakers, or the best protective gear, and women should be able to use a bra that provides the most support. Female athletes play hard and deserve to have sports gear that let’s them play their very breast, I mean best.
Posted by Silissa Kenney in EQUIPMENT on 07-15-11 No Comments
The 2011 British Open is going on right now at Royal St. George. The last time the Open was played there was in 2003. The champion was Ben Curtis, who was playing his first Open and whose odds were, like, 300-1. Your odds of winning — or even playing — in an Open may be closer to 3 billion-1, but if you’re serious about improving your game, there is some high-tech help out there.
The P3ProSwing, is a golf simulator and swing analyzer. You can buy the system for in-home use, starting at $599. But the Masters Studio version — which you could also buy if you’re willing to drop a cool $23,000 — is available to try in a few Sports Authority stores. Now you can pick out your clubs and try them out without leaving the store. Actually, you could stay and play a game on one of the simulated golf courses also. You know, do away with all that pesky walking and fresh air.
Kidding aside, this tool uses high-tech graphics and sensors to analyze your swing. Measurements include club-face angle, swing path, angle of attack, hit distance, club-head speed and swing tempo. This means you can find clubs that are customizable to your swing and see precisely where you need improvement.
Expensive golf clubs? Check. Advanced technology as golf-guru? Check. This is the kind of thing that seems to take the fun out of getting out there and just playing. But let’s face it, we all want to be better at whatever game we’re playing. This could be a great way to beef up your skills. Who knows, maybe you will make it one day to play in your first Open. Or, at least, a virtual Open.
Posted by Anthony Mowl in ALL, EQUIPMENT on 07-14-11 No Comments
Amateur action sport athletes are looking more and more like professional athletes with GoPro’s Hero camera sets. The GoPro Hero is a relatively inexpensive camera that packs a powerful punch. Priced as low as $259, people are getting one of the most versatile video cameras anywhere.
The GoPro Hero is a little bigger than a deck of cards, but produces 1080p HD-quality video, and up to 5 megapixel photographs. Buy the most basic model at $259, and you’ll get a waterproof case that you can scuba dive with up to 180 feet, a helmet mount and a flat-surface mount. Spend $40 extra, and you can get either surf, motor sports or helmet mounts and take the Hero along for a ride on your surfboard or dirt bike, or get amazing footage as you skydive.
While the camera is priced for extreme sports enthusiasts, professional filmmakers are finding the Hero to be just the right solution for their needs. Kayaking documentary maker Five2Nine is producing amazing videos with the Hero, and the maker of the March of the Penguins movie has modified the camera to make a “Critterpak,” putting the camera on animals to get stunning footage. But perhaps the coolest thing is GoPro’s latest addition to the Hero family: a 3D kit that puts 3D production capabilities in the hands of even the most amateur of filmmakers. Simply purchase two Hero cameras at $259 each, and a 3D kit at $99, and you’ll be competing with James Cameron in no time.
The 3D kit is a waterproof case that houses both cameras side-by-side, and with the software that comes in the 3D kit, you’re synchronizing your cameras to make instant 3D footage that looks like this. While you’ll need glasses to view the 3D video, you have the option of outputting the same footage in 2D. YouTube has added the ability to upload and stream videos in 3D, making the potential for 3D to become much more widespread and within reach of anybody with $600.
Skydivers, surfers, kayakers, stunt bikers and scuba divers now all have the ability to produce amazing footage at an extremely affordable price, turning backyard action sports stars into viral celebrities if they happen to capture themselves wiping out and breaking a leg in 3D. While I probably wouldn’t want to see a bone sticking out in 3D, I’d definitely want to have the Hero 3D kit with me the next time I go skydiving or bungee jumping. I’d slap a pair of 3D glasses on my grandpa, and take him along for the ride.
Posted by Jonathan in EQUIPMENT, MOBILE on 07-08-11 No Comments
Dang! There goes my last excuse for being old, slow and fat.
Annapolis, Md.-based Zypher Technologies is now offering what amounts to the remote training and monitoring tools that the pros use on your Android phone. And pretty much for nothing.
The company’s ZephyrAnywhere portal is up and running. For little more than your name, email address and password, you can log into a remote training tool that offers more data than you could ever want on how dangerously out of shape you really are.
You will need to get a biometric harness, download some apps and otherwise tinker around to get this thing to work right. And there are always issues when you load up advanced workout tools. Still, for what amounts to a sales tool, this product is pretty darn cool.
Posted by Anthony Mowl in EQUIPMENT on 07-06-11 No Comments
It was another thrilling Wimbledon tournament. Novak Djokovic upset Rafael Nadal to become the top-ranked tennis player in the world, and there were slow-motion shots of Pippa Middleton gasping and cheering during the matches. Yes, slow-mo of Pippa. The tennis gods do exist. Short of the microphone not working in the post-championship interview with Djokovic, tennis’ popularity continues to assert itself with yet another star making his way to the top.
Tennis is one of those sports like golf, where with every match it pays tribute to its lineage and history. There have been few major changes that have altered the sport, unlike the 3-point line in basketball or the forward pass in football. While technology has changed sport in many ways, the best innovation in tennis to date has been getting rid of wooden rackets for graphite rackets. For its 125th anniversary Wimbledon’s banking partner HSBC decided to commission a study of potential technology that will be developed in the future for tennis, and they came up with some pretty neat stuff that shouldn’t pervert the game.
Loughborough University’s Sports Technology institute conducted the study, and research leader Dr. Jouni Ronkainen had the pleasure of imagining what the game would look like in 2036. They looked at three major areas where innovation could occur: the ball, racket, and players’ clothing. The study also mentioned broadcasting matches over hologram, technology that Japan first offered up in their 2022 World Cup bid. Hopefully they won’t stop working on it because they lost the bid.
The major innovations in tennis will come in the remote measurement and reporting of information, stuff like players’ biometric information, tracking where the ball lands on the court, racket speeds, and whether the racket strings are about to break. The neat things about these innovations is that they would improve the game without changing the game too much, something that even sport historians would appreciate. The game will get faster, players will get bigger and stronger, and fans will need neck braces to help them follow the ball back and forth across the court.
Loughborough even came up with some cool graphics that make the tennis player look like some sort of spaceman in the mold of Iron Man. While I believe that we’ll have better-constructed balls and rackets and data on the players’ heart and breathing rates, I have a really hard time thinking that tennis players will dress in a form-fitting body suit. But if Pippa wanted to wear one of those and it was broadcast as a hologram, I’d be all for it. That would prove once and for all that the tennis gods want us to be happy.
New podcasts available every Wednesday!
Episode 73: The TSC Zombies Live!
We celebrate our final show at Hothead Studios by breaking down sports video games from E3; talkin’ through some dang sports video baseball cards and then go getting into the fallout from Derek Boogarrd’s untimely death. Finally, what we have all been waiting for: Dan on latest on with Posada’s crazy, tweeting wife. Share this [...]
Episode 72: Dan’s Cool Rugby Shirt
Blum breaks down 42 miles on a bike with no chain. Evans reports on the Oprah/Nike summit. Dan’s got a rugby johns he would like to share. And some high tech tricks to baseball scouting. (26.8 KB, 27.10 Minutes) Share this post:ShareEmailPrintStumbleUponRedditDigg
Episode 71: The NFL For President!
Dan breaks down the body blow online poker just took from regulators. Blum talks up the new book about what the NFL has to teach capitalism. Seth hates yet another video game. And finally ESPN on your iPad. (25.3 mb, 25.4 minutes) Share this post:ShareEmailPrintStumbleUponRedditDigg
Episode 70: “Are You Ready to Rumble?”
MLB TV’s online service is legitimately cool. The Masters will be a non-event online. Tiger Woods plays with crappy equipment and Blum compares betting on Wrestlemania to trading corn futures. Share this post:ShareEmailPrintStumbleUponRedditDigg
Episode 69: “A Podcast Unlike Any Other”
The organizers of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar seek to bend nature to their will with artificial clouds. Blum gloats over the NCAA Selection Committee’s epic seeding failures. Blackberry “Super” Apps underwhelm and Dan takes a crack at the new Masters video game. Share this post:ShareEmailPrintStumbleUponRedditDigg
Episode 68: “Revenge of the Nerds”
Seth and Blum mix it up with MIT over sports data. Dan reviews EA’s Fight Night Champion (virtual boxing is better than the real thing). Amar’e Stoudemire’s goggles get explained and the guys tour some physical fitness web sites. All that, plus, the week in review. Share this post:ShareEmailPrintStumbleUponRedditDigg
Episode 67: “Follow the Bouncing Blum”
Dan’s on the injured reserve this week, so Blum’s flying solo (with an assist from Seth the Tech Nihilist). In this episode: Seth breaks down March Madness On Demand, Blum wonders what gives with the crap-tastic apps that are dominating college athletics, a look into the NFL’s financial picture, plus the week in review at [...]
Episode 66: “It’s Hockey Night Tonight!”
It’s all hockey all the time for this week’s episode. Dan and Blum look at the cross-border battle between the Winter Classic and Heritage Classic as well as the Buffalo Sabres ownership change. Dan and Seth the Tech Nihilist reminisce about the classic NHL video games. Plus, how did a trade between the Stars and [...]
Episode 65: “Take This Job and Shove It”
Blum pitches his wild-eyed plan for NFL players to use social media to circumvent ownership. Seth the Tech-Nihilist gives his report on the new MLB.Com. Dan reviews NHL ’11 (it’s awesome) and digs into some racing tech at Daytona. Share this post:ShareEmailPrintStumbleUponRedditDigg
Episode 64: “Jets Fans are Damaged Individuals”
As Blum gloats, Dan lets the Jets know they can go straight to hell. Also, the best televisions for your Super Bowl party; Dan discovers Broadcast HD; Blum shares his illicit passion for wooden baseball bats; PLUS, the best sports e-books for your e-reader. Share this post:ShareEmailPrintStumbleUponRedditDigg