Nothing like shreddin' the gnar and carvin' up some sick rooster tails on the snowy slopes, eh? The fresh mountain air. Snowflakes falling on the pines. And, now, thanks to this Beats by Dre ski helmet, you can customize this winter wonderland with a totally wicked soundtrack.
The helmet is part of the popular BUG Communication line from ski and snowboard maker POC. The Beats headphones and microphone are simply integrated into the neck roll. Good news if you already have a POC helmet: you can buy the neck roll separately.
But be prepared to shell out some dough. After all, the units do have the coveted Beats by Dre logo. The complete helmet is $330, while the individual neck roll in $180.
However, since wearing earbuds and headphones with regular helmets is uncomfortable, if not, downright impossible, $330 might be a small price to pay for rippin' down a hill while listening to AC/DC's "Whole Lotta Rosie."
World's Largest T-Shirt Cannon:
Last night, the Philadelphia 76ers had their first game of the season. If you were a fan, there were two reasons to cheer. First, the team won 84-75 over the Denver Nuggets. Second, the event marked the introduction of the world's largest T-shirt cannon. Named Big Bella, the machine launches 100 T-shirts into the crowd in 60 seconds. It was built by New Berlin, Wisc.-based FX in Motion, an entertainment elements company. Go Sixers.
via The 700 Level
It's way too often that we hear of athletes getting hurt on the job, especially football players. Whether it's high school, college or a professional team, the risk of head injuries and concussion from high-impact sports is a growing concern. Reebok and Massachusetts start-up MC10 teamed up to create an impact-sensing skullcap for players that can be worn with or without a helmet.
The cap, set to release in 2013, will fit much like the ones swimmers use. It's outfitted with sensors and stretchable electronics to measure and detect when an injury has occurred. LED lights on the cap flash red, yellow or green to advise on the severity of the injury.
The driving force for the creation of this product was the lack of biometric data for head injuries in sports. There are helmets that already have biometric sensors embedded in them, but they are costly and usually only limited to one sport.
The cap costs a lot less than current technology. This makes it more accessible to all sports, regardless of budget constraints so that every player -- from the kid on a pee-wee football team to the professional hockey player -- will have the same opportunities to monitor and manage their safety.
The London 2012 Olympic games were probably the most eco-friendly games yet. But Brazil, whose hosting 2016, could have the world's first net-zero energy stadium.
What's net-zero? According to the U.S. Department of Energy, it's one that consumes no energy and emits no carbon on an annual basis. Upgrades to the existing Estádio Nacional de Brasília will help it achieve that goal, but the modifications are in places few visitors will see: the roof.
A ring of rooftop photovoltaic panels will collect energy to power the stadium. A photocatalytic membrane will collect air pollution and break down the chemicals to remove toxins from the air. These and other upgrades like rainwater collection for landscaping and plumbing will earn the stadium a LEED Platinum status.
The construction will cost over $400 million, but the returns from investing in this kind of renewable energy should even out in about 10 to 12 years. The stadium should be finished by the end of the year, two years ahead of its first major event, the 2014 World Cup.
Two summers ago, I played on a championship slowpitch softball team. A few of my teammates were, and still are, real bat hounds. As obsessive merchants of home-run glory, they would troll bat auction sites for their white whales and spoke of their conquests like wine connoisseurs do over vintage bottles of Pinot Noir.
If the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) ever certifies the following, I suspect it's only a matter of time before their bats are equipped with these: Dr. Daniel Russell's tunable vibration absorbers that take the sting out of the swing.
Russell, a number-crunching professor in the graduate program of acoustics at Pennsylvania State University, has calculated that vibrations between 600 and 700 hertz (Hz) cause the most pain when batters miss hitting the ball on the bat's sweet spot.
Trust me, I'm a professional shanker of easy outs off the handle or end of the bat, and doing so feels like touching an electric fence.
"Having identified that vibration I helped tune a mass spring vibration
absorber" embedded in the bat's knob "that attacks that frequency," Russell told Discovery News. "We tried it out and did
pre and post measurements and found that it completely removed that
unwanted vibration from the bat."
Russell worked with baseball bat manufacturer Marucci Sports to incorporate the technology into their youth and senior league bats.
"I know a number of coaches with little kids who have used the bats
with great success," said Russell. "Their kids aren't complaining about bad
hits or that they want to quit because their hands are sore."
Much to the dismay of the softball-bat mercenaries I knew who roved the grounds of the Rainbow Softball Center in Columbia, Mo., Marucci doesn't make softball bats. Even if they did, I doubt my old teammates would purchase any.
You see, Marucci's pitch-man is former St. Louis Cardinal Albert Pujols, who left many rabid fans of Redbird Nation somewhat disgruntled when he dumped the Cards for big money in Southern California. If I know my former teammates, it'll be a cold day in hell before they step up to the plate holding anything endorsed by Pujols.
But, guys, if you're listening, now might be a good time to pitch Dr. Russell your ideas for The Ultimate Softball Bat. He'll be presenting his research this Monday, October 22, at the Acoustical Society of America (ASA) conference in Kansas City.
Dudes, that's just a quick jaunt down I-70. You might have to play hooky from work, but don't worry, your secret is safe with me.
The next time you sit down to watch a NY Jets home game, take a minute during those overhead shots to look at the MetLife Stadium's ring of colorful lights. Those are solar panels, part of a renewable energy push from the NFL to make stadiums more energy efficient.
The 1,350 panels change colors from green to blue, depending on who is playing. The panels aren't just for looks, though. They generate 350,000 kilowatt hours of power, about 10 percent of what the stadium needs on a typical game day, and 25 times the electricity needed to power the LED lights that illuminate the stadium.
According to National Geographic, the power sector-focused company NRG Energy is responsible for this effort and many other renewable energy projects in sports. This includes a solar canopy still under construction at the New England Patriots' sports complex called Patriot Place and the 8,000-panel project in the parking area of the Redskins' FedEx Field in Maryland.
David Crane, CEO of NRG Energy, told National Geographic that projects like these are a good way to bring attention to sustainable efforts and building fan's team pride. He said that he understood fans weren't going to football games to look at rooves, but that when they do see the panels “fans will look at them and say, ‘my team is doing the right thing.’ It’s really about raising awareness with the fan base.”
NFL GameRewind App: Free (Subscriptions range from $34.99 to $69.99)
We're in a football mood today at Discovery, but we aren't always able to keep up with the game. If life gets in the way of you watching football, you might want to check out the NFL's tablet app, Game Rewind. With a paid subscription, users can watch full replays of the 2012 season on demand using an iPad or Android tablet. Replays of past games, dating back to 2009, are also available.
The recent update has added a few new features including "Condensed Game." It shows you an entire game in a span of about 30 minutes, penalties and all, with no commercials. While watching an on-demand game or catching up with instant replays, scores can also be displayed from different games. If you don't want to know, they can be hidden, too. If you're an analysis kind of guy (or girl), play-by-play details of the games from coaches shows you all angles of the game. A telestrator feature on iOS devices is also on hand to enhance the experience.
It's a good way to keep up with the game without necessarily having to have a cable or dish subscription. The app is free, but access to features require a subscription. One-time payments of $34.99 to follow one team, $39.99 for the entire league and both of these cover you up to January of 2013. The Season Plus package, which includes the telestrator feature, lasts through July 31, 2013 for $69.99. Monthly subscriptions are also available.
Any athlete will tell you that training involves a lot of
repetition -- doing something until it's in the "muscle memory" and
doesn't need to be consciously recalled.
For visually impaired athletes, though, it can be harder to
train, because they can't see well enough to know what movement they are supposed to
imitate. That got Benedict Copping, an engineering student at Imperial College,
London, thinking: how to transmit what a coach is feeling when they demonstrate
a movement. This is especially true in swimming, where getting motions
precisely right can shave an extra fraction of a second from the swimmer's
Copping and a group of friends, Jason Cheah, Idrees Rasouli and Shruti Grover, designed the Ghost, a device that tracks the movement
of the wearer's arm and allows him or her to repeat the motions precisely. It
also has sensors that detect the twisting and flexing in the arm.
For example, a trainer might guide a swimmer through the
motions of a stroke. The Ghost notes certain "waypoints" and stores
them. When the athlete moves her arm, the Ghost will vibrate to give
feedback to show whether the movement is correct. Repeating the motion helps
the athlete get it right and also develop the unconscious memory.
Copping told Discovery News he envisions one day connecting the Ghost
to a computer via Bluetooth, which could then store the
information and even create a kind of "virtual arm." With further development, Copping said the Ghost could even be built into the tape that was popular among Olympic athletes this year.
While it was designed for paralympic athletes, Ghost could also
be used by able-bodied people in sports such as tennis. Imagine Roger Federer
or the Williams sisters storing their own racquet technique, and aspiring
players downloading it from the Internet. Or perhaps R. A. Dickey and Tim
Wakefield could finally explain how to throw a knuckleball.
Copping added that he came up with the idea while thinking about gymnastics. There's no paralympic gymnastics, and he started considering how people orient themselves. "I was struck by the story of somoene losing their sight, and how they lost confidence and the ability to orient themselves in space. It can be harrowing." That got him thinking about how people learn movement.
The Ghost is was developed at Imperial College London in the
Sports Innovation Challenge, funded by Rio Tinto (which provided the metal used
in the Olympic medas this year). It is also a finalist for the James Dyson award,
which will be announced on Nov. 8.
Swimsuits In 2008, Olympics spectators saw swimmers such as Michael Phelps wearing the LZR Racer suits made by Speedo. The seamless suits covered most of the body and were designed to allow better flows of oxygen to the muscles and repel water. They resulted in a number of world records broken -- many by Phelps himself.
But for the 2012 Games, the LZR and any other suit that provided all-body coverage was disallowed, as were any suits made of polyurethane and rubber. That didn't stop suit innovation though. The new "Fastskin3" suits from Speedo were designed by Rick Sharp, a kinesiology professor at Iowa State University, and they compress certain parts of the body to offer a more streamlined profile. But it wasn't just the suits that were innovated: the cap and goggles were reshaped to reduce resistance.
Cycling Bikes bring a lot of advanced technology to the sport. To reduce air resistance on track bikes, for example, engineers fabricate the bikes from a single piece of carbon fiber, the same material used in advanced aircraft. The handlebars and stem, for instance, are an integrated unit instead of two pieces. Carbon fiber is so light that there's even a weight minimum -- 6.8 kilograms (a hair under 15 pounds).
Many Olympic cyclists are also wearing Giro's Air Attack helmets. Giro spent a year and a half designing the helmets, which not only have a more aerodynamic shape but are kept a few millimeters above the rider's head in order to keep them cool.
The Bionic Man Oscar Pistorius will be the first man with artificial legs to compete in the Olympics on Saturday, running the 400-meter. His legs are carbon-fiber springs that allow him to compete with the best of the able-bodied athletes. (Though given his times it might be fair to ask who is "disabled" in this sense). In fact his very presence has sparked considerable debate over whether his legs give him an unfair advantage -- for example, the fact that he lacks legs below the knee reduces his overall body weight, which can improve run times.
Not everyone thinks there's that much of an advantage, since Pistorius' legs transmit weight to the ground in a slightly different way than other runners, which could reduce their efficiency.
Tech and Tae Kwon Do Tae Kwon Do seems to get no love from the International Olympic Committee -- the sport was facing elimination from the games. A new scoring technology will be used this year, and the hope is that it will keep the sport on the schedule. The Protector and Scoring System (PSS) will measure the strength of a kick to the body and score it. It also has an instant video replay system involving no less than six cameras. Tae Kwon Do (and other martial arts) are tough to score well; this system helps the judges and takes some of the subjectivity out of it. Even the footpads worn by some athletes were redesigned to make a louder noise when they hit, so judges are more likely to hear them and recognize it as a point.
The Whole World Is Watching Social media, internet broadcasting, and advanced telecommunications are all a part of this year's Olympics in a way that is new. Athletes are using Twitter, for example, to engage with fans – though it pays to be careful what you tweet. Meanwhile, in the U.S., some people are bypassing NBC's coverage by going to video streaming services, though it isn’t always easy.
On the broadcaster's side, OlympicsAtos, an international information technology company, is sending results instantly to commentators, while robotic cameras give us those great shots of swimmers underwater. It all adds up to a much more instantaneous experience of the broadcast, even when it is delayed by five or six hours.
After Olympic hurdler Lolo Jones stumbled to a seventh place finish in the 100-meter hurdles in Beijing in 2008, she analyzed each second of her race. Each fraction of a second, to be exact.
New technology made it easier: To analyze her gait, Jones attached 39 sensors to her body before sprinting down the track with a high-speed video camera matching her pace. She didn't do it alone but as part of a Red Bull program called Project X. In the 12 or so seconds it takes Jones to sprint, the computer generates a stick-figure image giving her coach such specific data as the fact that her toe leaves the ground 2.3 meters from the first hurdle.
It takes the guesswork out of coaching, coach Dennis Shaver says. For example, researchers noticed her left leg was trailing by .01 seconds per step in the first eight steps out of the blocks, according to USA Today. And the technology also captures contact time, or the amount of time her feet spend on the track. That helps her coaches pinpoint the exact amount of warmup she needs to optimize that contact time.
Other athletes have used the program and benefited, according to Outside Magazine. Sprinter Shalonda Solomon improved her time in the 200 meters by .32 seconds and won a close race in the USA Outdoor Championships last year.