Athletics
Football
Rugby
Swimming
Tennis
Technology

The Evolution of Technology in Sport

Technology has improved the accuracy, enjoyment and experiences of both athletes and spectators at sporting events.

Discover the key advancements in technology past and present that have contributed to making sport better for everyone.

Athletics

Athletics
Tracking Race Times

Tracking Race Times

1964 Seiko launches its new electronic automated timing system with a photo-finish mechanism, improving accuracy to 1/100th of a second.

1980s Transponder or RFID timing is designed using radio frequency via a chip placed on the athlete to record times at antenna points.

2008 Photo finish equipment captures 3,000 photos per second to track winners in races.

Clothing

Clothing

1950s onwards Lighter and flatter track shoes are designed to find the perfect balance of optimal grip and comfort.

2012 Athletic apparel starts to measure heart rate, respiratory activity, posture, speed and weight distribution.

Today New clothing is being designed to wick sweat away from the body by evaporation instead of absorbing it.

Football

Football
Goal-Line Technology (GLT)

Goal-Line Technology (GLT)

2012 The International Football Association Board (IFAB) approves GLT and amends the 'Laws of the Game'.

2014 The technology is used for the first time ever in the World Cup and helps award a goal to France against Honduras.

Today GLT is used only in top European domestic leagues (England, Italy, France, Germany) and major international competitions.

Video Technology

Video Technology

The Future The IFAB has confirmed that a trial to use video assistance referees will begin before the 2017-18 football season.

The technology will apply only to key decisions, such as goals, red cards, penalties and mistaken identity.

A final decision to use the technology will be made after a thorough period of testing.

Rugby

Rugby
Data Tracking

Data Tracking

2010 Bradford Bulls become the first team to use GPS tracking to collect data and stats on player performance.

Today Sensors are placed under the player's jerseys to track heart rate, field positions, fatigue, rehabilitation and injury prevention.

GPS data tracking is now used by the majority of professional rugby teams in Europe.

Video Technology

Video Technology

2001 Video referees are introduced in rugby union to help with decisions relating to scoring a try.

2015 Hawk-Eye video review technology is used by the television match official (TMO) to improve decision making. Previously, the TMO had to ask TV producers to rewind coverage in order to find and analyse specific camera shots.

Swimming

Swimming
Virtual Imaging

Virtual Imaging

2000 Orad Hi-Tec Systems introduces virtual imaging including its Virtual World Record Line in professional swimming trials and events.

The technology creates a superimposed line on the surface of the water and graphics to show existing world records.

Virtual flags designed by Orad, representing each swimmer in their lane, are also used in swimming events.

DiveCam

DiveCam

2008 The Drop-Gravity 'DiveCam' is developed to steadily film each diver's motion in free fall.

The camera moves up and down a 50ft tube above and below water level and films each diver in smooth, linear motion.

Due to the laws of physics, the camera is always in line with the diver as they descend.

Tennis

Tennis
Hawk-Eye Line-Calling System

Hawk-Eye Line-Calling System

2001 An electronic computer system is developed that tracks the trajectory of the ball and displays its path as a moving 3D image.

The system uses high-performance cameras, which track the ball from different angles.

2006 Hawk-Eye is used in competitions and tennis players are allowed to challenge a number of umpire decisions per set.

Radar Guns

Radar Guns

1991 IBM serve-speed technology is first introduced at Wimbledon.

Two radar sensors at the baseline of each side of the court record the speed of the ball once it's hit.

The data for each player's serve is automatically recorded on IBM's central tournament database.

Key Technological Advancements

Key Technological Advancements

Some of the key technological advancements that have been observed for athletes and spectators include improved:

Time-tracking systems.

Clothing and equipment.

Goal-Line Technology.

Video technology.

GPS data tracking.

Virtual imaging.

Accuracy and decision systems (Hawk-Eye).

Coverage of events around the world via Internet and multiple devices.