While the Olympics of Ancient Greece may have been a testament to pure athletic prowess, modern day Olympic Games are just as much a showcase for technological innovation as they are for highlighting the power of the human body. Today, entire teams of scientists, engineers and technology pros support athletes through innovations designed to improve training performance, sporting equipment, and athletic ability. The growing reliance on technology hasn’t come without significant controversy, as teams must work within strict requirements set for individual events. For this year’s XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, this means weight, length and material limitations on equipment like bobsleds, specific guidelines for outfits’ fabric and tightness, and stricter regulations to make sure teams are not cheating.
Here’s some interesting tech facts from this year’s Winter Games and around Sochi:
- The Mach 39, a project from Under Armour and Lockheed Martin, is a new innovative speed skating suite that employs golf ball-esque dimples to disrupt air flow that bulks up behind a skater to shave nanoseconds of race times.
- Sochi will be the first Olympic venue to fully support a 4G LTE wireless network via MegaFon and Rostelecom, two Russian telecommunication giants.
- Watch-maker Omega has installed multiple sensors on bobsleds to collect incredibly precise performance data on rates of acceleration and deceleration, aggregate speed, and angular velocity.
- Sochi’s technological infrastructure is supported by a new network using Shortest Path Bridging, which is capable of handling up to 54,000 Gbit/s (54 Tbit/s) of traffic.
- Fiber-optic cables alert 403 snow making guns to create snow when needed for the courses of some of the most popular winter events.
- The digital marketers at Molson Beer have jumped in on the tech fun by providing branded beer freezers that only unlock for Canadian passport holders.