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Sports Technology Coming Sooner Than You Think

Nick DimengoFeatured ColumnistJune 14, 2013

Sports Technology Coming Sooner Than You Think

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    We live in a technological age where everything we do seems to be dictated by some sort of gadget.

    Just look around you and you'll find people walking into oncoming traffic while on their iPhones or talking to their car to give them directions.

    In sports, the need for technology is no different.

    From sweat-wicking clothing that replaced polyester to faster, aluminum little league bats, we've seen a lot of advancements throughout the years.

    These are the next great ones to keep an eye out for.

3D Printing for Apparel Companies

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    This definitely doesn't apply to the regular Joe Schmo athlete on an everyday basis, but it will surely help the backyard athlete perform better in the long run.

    Major sporting brands Nike and Adidas are using 3D printing to help speed up the process of shoe-making, running (pun intended) through various prototypes quicker to determine which is best to release to athletes.

    Like we said, you won't care about this today, but when lighter, quicker, more comfortable shoes are out sooner, you might.

Columbia Sportswear's Ice Tee

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    Kids these days have it made, don't they?

    We remember growing up and having to wear our old cotton or polyester jersey's, dripping sweat the minute we stepped on a humid field, then running around with that heat trapped in our shirt.

    Thanks to Columbia's new Ice Tee wicking shirt, though, it not only helps absorb sweat, but it actually lowers your body temperature so you don't use as much energy by overheating.

    As a runner, we want to know where the hell we can get one today?

CoachBase

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    This one's for all the future coach Krzyzewski's out there who want to become legendary in a specific sport.

    With hundreds of millions of kids playing rec sports, CoachBase helps the coach actually know what they're doing, communicating plays and drills to their players easily.

    Recognized as a top innovator by Nike already, we may be hearing more coaches thank this device a lot more when accepting a championship trophy on the podium.

Aluminum Bats More Like Wooden Ones

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    Over the years, we've seen plenty of nasty injuries from comebackers off a bat into a pitcher's head.

    Though it's almost unavoidable regardless of the material used on the bat, when a ball comes off an aluminum one, it gets to the mound quicker, causing less reaction time for the hurler.

    So bat manufacturers are starting to find an alternative, using composite bats to perform more like wooden ones.

    A few adjustments have been made to keep bat speed high, while limiting the amount of "ping" we actually hear, which is a good thing for all Moms of little leaguers out there.

Nike Fuelband 2

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    After receiving high praise for its release of the original Fuelband, which came out in 2012, Nike decided that it wanted to tweak some of the things the original did—and make some additional features to its follow-up.

    That's why the sports giant decided to release the Fuelband 2, which does everything the original did, but better.

    Now with bluetooth and synching app support, all casual athletes should be excited about this—though there's no release date yet announced.

Bane-Like Football Helmets

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    If you're a breathing human being, we have a pretty damn good hunch that you saw the movie The Dark Knight Rises when it came out last year.

    In the flick, Batman's trying to overtake some dude named Bane from blowing up the world, basically.

    Since we know athletes love their superheroes, it was probably only a matter of time before we saw these Bane-like facemasks make their way to the field.

    Though only Justin Tuck and Darnell Dockett have been seen sporting them so far—and they're actually used to help stop opponents from tugging on facemasks—there will surely be more to follow.

TaylorMade R1 Driver

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    There's an old adage in golf that says, "Drive for show, but putt for dough."

    But that doesn't stop people from dropping big-time bucks on trying to outblast their opponent off the tee box.

    That's why golf manufacturer TaylorMade released their new R1 driver, which adjusts to three different settings to help control the ball a hell of a lot better than you do now, while earning some money from your buddies in those long drive contests at the range.

94Fifty Basketball

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    With all the studying and research that goes into the stats of a basketball player, there's never been a tool that can help track all the timing and rhythm for them to review.

    The 94Fifty basketball is helping to change that, though, putting sensors on a ball to help track in real-time just what the most effective way to shoot is for each player.

    It might not help you turn into Stephen Curry, but at least it's a good start. 

Robotic Baseball Pitcher

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    There's been some argument over the years about trying to bring in an electronic strike zone to replace the natural human error that umpires have during each game.

    While it's true that they make mistakes, it probably won't happen anytime soon.

    But what if umpires remain, and robots make their way to the field?

    Pretty far-fetched we know, but that's what some scientists are asking after building a prototype for a robotic pitcher to take the mound every game.

    Let's just say this isn't your average pitch machine.

BallCam

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    We've seen varying camera angles that broadcasts give us to help put the action right in our living room.

    But there's never been anything that's been like this.

    Basically putting a GoPro camera inside of a football, some serious smart dudes built an application that would slow down the rotational view, so not to make viewers dizzy.

    Will it ever catch on?

    Who knows?

    Is it pretty damn cool?

    Yeah, we're just worried about it's durability on some Rob Gronkowski touchdown spikes.

Under Armour's Sports Suit

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    Trying to compete with Nike, Under Armour has helped snatch away a lot of the younger demographic over the past five years or so—just look around little league fields and see all the kids donning the UA logo.

    But the company is shooting for the big leagues with their sport suit invention that will combine a sweat-wicking outfit with the capabilities of the previously mentioned Nike Fuelband.

    It might look goofy now, but who knows how it will be received by athletes and consumers?

MLB "At the Ballpark" App

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    This advancement might not help you rip a ball over center field or jump any higher, but it will definitely help stretch your gut out a little further—or just enhance your in-game experience.

    Heralded as the "Best Sports Technology" several weeks ago, this mobile app helps you skip the lines to order food, check on seat upgrades and, well, pretty much gives you the ability to have the entire ballpark at your fingertips.

    Talk about a five-tool player.

The Hover Golf Cart

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    Bubba Watson may have captured sports fans with his play at last year's Masters tournament when he hit one of the most memorable shots to take home the green jacket, but he won them over even more with this video of a golf cart hover craft earlier this year.

    Golf carts are fun to ride around in and all, but being able to glide over almost anything you want? Now that'd be pretty damn dope.

NFL Helmet Camera

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    Unfortunately we don't think we'll see this in any live games soon—unless someone wants to foot the bill for all those mini cameras?—but it's still something that should help players and coaches in the film room.

    We've already seen new Bears head coach Marc Trestman use it in minicamps this year, and since the NFL is a copycat league, chances are more teams will utilize this gadget in the not-too-distant future.

FIFA Goal-Line Technology

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    This is one that we should all be rejoicing.

    After years of stubbornness that any tech advancements would slow the pace or interrupt the beautiful game—you know, more than just fan involvement—FIFA has finally enabled goal-line technology to help determine when a ball actually crosses the end line.

    Too many times we've seen questionable calls happen in major matches, so this is something that probably should have happened a long time ago.

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