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Posts tagged ‘sports’


Soccer may use video replays to help with concussions

Soccer may not be full-contact like football, but the risks of getting a concussion from a collision on the pitch are still a huge concern. At its annual meeting in March, the International Football Association Board (IFAB) will decide whether a doctor on the touchline will be able to review video replays. After doing so, medics will be able to determine if a blow to the head was severe enough to require a substitution. If approved, the system could be in place as soon as next season and ahead of the next World Cup in 2018.

Right now, goal-line technology is used during games to review whether or not the ball crossed into the goal. The IFAB announced in June that testing would begin on in-game video replays to review goals, penalties, fouls and more in several leagues around the world. The governing body isn’t expected to decide whether or not the Video Assistant Referees (VARs) system will be officially approved for use until 2018 or 2019. However, the Associated Press reports that mangers will have access to video replays for tactical reasons, but they won’t be able to use them to argue calls. I’m sure they’ll abide by that guideline with no issues.

FIFA enacted protocols two years ago that allow referees to stop a match for three minutes while a potential head injury is assessed. IFAB says that even with that change, there have been cases where a player shouldn’t have been allowed to continue. Until the VARs system is approved, officials won’t be able to consult replays that are available for medical reasons.

“We have seen enough examples where potentially if the doctor was able to use video he might have made a decision not to put a player back on the field,” IFAB secretary Lukas Brud explained to the AP.

Via: The Verge

Source: Associated Press


Intel is getting into VR sports and live events

There’s a glut of virtual reality headsets on the market now, but not nearly enough VR content. Intel, which just launched the “Project Alloy” mixed reality headset, is addressing that. It acquired a small firm called Voke that produces 360-degree content for live events like fashion shows and basketball games, the Wall Street Journal reports. “Voke is going to allow us to accelerate our route to market with leagues and broadcasters,” Intel VP Wendell Brooks tells the WSJ.

Intel is building a VR studio in LA, and is already into sports broadcast technology. It recently purchased Replay Technologies, whose freeD tech is used by the NBA and MLB to do “bullet time” 360-degree replays. Though it’s getting into the VR broadcast business, the company no doubt hopes that extra content will drive demand for its chips. Oculus and Vive headset buyers, for example, must purchase decently spec’d PCs, most of which use Intel CPUs.

There’s still no proof that virtual reality is going to be huge, but all the major tech companies (apart from Apple) are betting on it. Microsoft revealed that its Holographic VR platform would come to Windows 10 in 2017. Intel’s Project Alloy will run on the platform, as will new $300 headsets from Lenovo, HP and Dell. Meanwhile, Google has developed its own Daydream headset and platform, Samsung has the smartphone-based Gear VR, and Sony is now selling it’s PlayStation VR gaming headset.

If sales take off as expected, Intel’s bet on VR content should pay off. However, it’s still too early to tell if virtual reality is going to be a genuine hit or not. HTC has reportedly sold around 140,000 Vive headsets at $700 a pop, which isn’t bad, and Oculus said over a million people used the Gear VR in May. Perhaps the biggest test will come at the end of the year, when Sony will reveal results from its first full quarter of Playstation VR headset sales.

Source: The Wall Street Journal


The NFL’s first VR series is coming to Daydream and YouTube

Virtual reality is all the rage these days and the NFL is hopping on the bandwagon. The league announced today that it’s expanding its partnership with Google via a new VR series for YouTube and Daydream. Produced by NFL Films, the 9-part show will offer a look “a 360-degree perspective of life” from the point of view of players, coaches, executives, cheerleaders and fans. While the first episode is set to debut Thanksgiving Day on the league’s YouTube channel, the series won’t be available inside the NFL VR app for Google’s Daydream platform until “later this year.”

This new series is the league’s first dive into producing its own VR content and the NFL says it’s also the first episodic sports content for the medium. While the announcement doesn’t specify a title for the project, the league says the decision to pursue a full series came after it “experimented” with the tech last season. The series is still in production and NFL Films is using Google’s GoPro-driven Jump virtual reality camera to capture the footage.

When it arrives in a few weeks, the first episode will chronicle the Philadelphia Eagles as they prep for an upcoming game with views from the sideline on game day. In the episodes that follow, the NFL says the show will focus on unique aspects of other teams, like the football culture in Green Bay.

The league has been in cahoots with Google since early 2015 when the two partnered to bring highlights, previews and recaps to YouTube. The pair expanded the deal back in May to include classic games for all 32 teams. NFL Films has also worked with Amazon on the All or Nothing series that debuted in July.

Source: NFL


The 12 best tech gifts for sports fanatics

Chances are there’s at least one die-hard sports fan in your life. And look, even if your idea of game-time small talk is “Hey, how about that local sportsball team” you can still get them the perfect gift. Whether they’re big NBA addicts, avid runners or trying to perfect that spiral and become an NFL quarterback, we’ve got you covered. And you don’t even have to betray your tech-geek roots to do it. There’s plenty of ways to get your game on while simultaneously getting your geek on. High-end TVs deliver football in 4K glory while wearables like the TomTom Adventurer let you turn that epic hike into epic reams of data. Check out the gallery bellow to see our 12 techie gift recommendations sports fans and athletes.


Puma’s self-lacing shoes were made for track athletes

Nike has some competition. Though the company has gotten a lot of attention for its Back to the Future-inspired HyperAdapt sneakers, it’s not the only brand working on self-lacing shoes. Almost a year ago, Puma showed off its own self-lacing sneakers, called the Autodiscs, and seeded them to the likes of Usain Bolt and Rickie Fowler. Since then the company has had little to say about these rare shoes, but I recently had the chance to get an exclusive look at them and even try them on, courtesy of our friends over at Hong Kong-based Internet of Things accelerator Brinc.

In a nutshell, the Autodiscs are sneakers with built-in motors that loosen or tighten internal laces wrapped around the front part of the foot. This is done with a push of a button on the shoes or in the companion smartphone app. While some may dismiss this technology as an excuse for those who are too lazy to bend down to tie their laces, it can actually minimize hassle for sprinters who frequently have to re-tighten their laces on the track.

All told, the Autodiscs have two real advantages over Nike’s HyperAdapt. One is that the motors are embedded in the tongues instead of beneath the soles, thus allowing the Autodisc to flex more like ordinary sneakers. Second, the HyperAdapt lacks smartphone connectivity whereas the Autodisc let you jump straight to your desired tightness for each shoe (the tightness is offered in three levels) as well as monitor its battery levels. Speaking of the sort, to recharge the shoes, just place the heels on the accompanying wireless-charging mat until the indicators stop blinking.

What the Autodiscs do miss out on is the HyperAdapt’s automatic self-tightening feature: As soon as you put on the HyperAdapt, the pressure sensor in the heels toggles the self-lacing mechanism, meaning you don’t have to lean down to push a button to manually tighten the shoes.

Puma Autodisc : Hands-on

These shoes feel as if they come from the future.

In my time wearing the Autodiscs, they felt very much like normal sneakers but with the added ability to wrap tighter around my feet. It was always satisfying whenever the laces were active on my feet. Combined with a high-pitched mechanical noise, these shoes feel as if they come from the future.

Bay McLaughlin, the COO and co-founder of Brinc, has been following this project for over two years, though the research and development on this particular auto-lacing technology has been around for nearly a decade. According to McLaughlin, it wasn’t until the Rio Olympics earlier this year that Puma decided to focus explicitly on track and field with the Autodisc. To date, only 50 pairs have been made, many of which are apparently in the hands of renowned athletes. Puma is currently making them in two colors: black and yellow.

While McLaughlin couldn’t share more technical details or a target price point, he reckons Puma will likely commercialize the Autodisc; it’s just a matter of gauging consumer demand, which Nike has sort of been doing all of this time with the MAG.

“It’d be different if these were a prototype version sitting on the side of the factory floor or in a lab somewhere, but these two companies are going after this space, this is very apparent now,” McLaughlin said, referring to the super competitive nature of the sneaker market. “This project’s been under way for a long time, they have the top athletes in the world testing them. Nike’s now gotten public about them in the last few weeks. The game is afoot, as they would say. It’s happening.”

When the Autodiscs do eventually go on sale, chances are they won’t come cheap. But for serious athletes, they might be intriguing, especially if future versions can automatically tighten themselves on the fly or maybe use biometric data to help assess their performance. Just our two cents, Puma.


DraftKings and FanDuel may be serious about a merger

DraftKings and FanDuel have dismissed talk of a possible merger for ages, but it looks like those rumors may be more than just idle banter. Sources for both ESPN and Recode say that the daily fantasy sports websites are in serious talks about a union. Just how close they are is up for debate (ESPN says it’s “imminent,” Recode says the terms are “still being ironed out”), but this wouldn’t just be an exploratory discussion.

FanDuel isn’t commenting so far, but DraftKings has responded with a non-denial. While it says that it doesn’t talk about “rumors or speculation,” it also says that a combination would be “interesting to consider” and that there are “no assurances at this time” that talks would lead to a formal alliance.

It wouldn’t be shocking for the two to join up at this stage. The two have paid a steep price to put their legal troubles behind them, and it’s still not over. ESPN contacts understand that both DraftKings and FanDuel are behind on paying some partners. A merger may be more a matter of survival than anything else.

The biggest challenges may be the regulatory environment and the company leadership. The two sites dominate daily fantasy sports, and would immediately hold a monopoly if they teamed up. Officials would likely demand concessions if a merger went through, assuming it went through at all. Also, the CEOs of Draft Kings and FanDuel are notoriously hostile to each other despite the companies’ overly cozy ties. Pride may make it difficult for either leader to assume a less prominent role, and there’s no certainty that the two will find a way to share responsibility for a single company.

Source: ESPN, Recode


It looks like Sony’s 10-year-plan for the PS3 is over

Yesterday, Sony announced that MLB The Show 17 will launch on PS4 next March — but it won’t be coming to the PS3. As the previous year’s edition of the sports game was the last first-party title to come to the aging console, this probably means Sony won’t put out new content. If so, we’ve reached the end of the company’s 10-year-plan to support the system. Goodnight, sweet prince.

There’s no sign that Sony will stop giving PS3 owners free old games through PS+, but without first-party support, owners of the legacy console don’t have much to look forward to. The last third-party developers making content for the old system have quietly stopped in the last year, which is still a long time to keep content coming out after the PS4 debuted in 2013.

Back in June, Bungie stated that the next Destiny expansion coming in the fall would split character progression along two paths, preventing players from earning anything when they jump between systems. As we noted when the new content went live at the end of July, it’s likely the developer’s first step in jettisoning support for last-generation console owners. At least they’ve held out longer than Activision, which announced last year that PS3 and Xbox 360 owners would be getting neither the single-player campaign nor the fourth DLC maps for Call of Duty: Black Ops 3.

As for the latest harbinger of the PS3’s end days, MLB The Show 17 will come out on March 28th, 2017. Legendary slugger Ken Griffey, Jr. will bestir the cover of the American version, though Sony hasn’t announced which players will stare out from the international covers at the dejected faces of PlayStation 3 diehards, for whom brand-new digital baseball experiences are now the stuff of memory.

Source: Playstation blog


Audi drops Le Mans in favor of Formula E

Here’s an unusual turn of events: Audi is dropping its best-known presence in motorsports. The car maker is terminating its FIA World Endurance Championship commitment, which includes 24-hour Le Mans races, in favor of a Formula E factory-backed team. If you ask executives, it’s about reflecting long-term goals. Audi’s regular cars are going electric in ever-larger numbers — when its race cars are “technological spearheads,” they have to go electric as well. The company already has a partnership in the league, but it’ll have technical involvement from 2017 onward.

The brand isn’t completely abandoning fossil-fueled motorsport, at least not yet. It’s still competing in Germany’s DTM series, and it has yet to decide on World Rallycross. If the rallying world moves to electric power, that will make Audi’s decision easier.

This isn’t a trivial choice for a company that’s practically synonymous with Le Mans, and still puts in a good showing (its drivers placed 3rd and 4th in the latest 24-hour race). However, it’s easy to see why Audi would make the jump. It’s not just that developments in EV racing are likely to filter down to production cars. Its rivals BMW and Mercedes-Benz are also getting involved in Formula E, so there’s pressure to join — especially when parent company Volkswagen is determined to improve its image in the wake of its emissions cheating scandal. When you also consider that Audi drivers have already won Formula E races, it only makes sense to deepen the firm’s involvement.

Source: Audi MediaCenter


Dish helps you follow out-of-town NBA teams

It’s tough being a San Antonio Spurs fan living in New York City, since I can only watch games shown on national TV. With NBA Team Pass, though, that’s not a problem. And starting today, Dish is making it available to its subscribers for $119 per season, becoming the first pay-TV provider to do so. Up until now, Team Pass was only available as an online streaming service, but you should note that out-of-market blackout restrictions still apply with Dish’s offering.

Once you pick your favorite team, out of the 30 in the league, you can watch live and on-demand regular season games directly from your satellite box. To make this more appealing, Dish is giving customers the ability to split the total payment into four installments of $29.75. But, if you want to see how it works first, the company says there is a free preview of the add-on until November 1st.

Now, in case one team isn’t enough, you do have the NBA’s full-fledged League Pass, which gives you access to content from the whole league for $200 per season. Don’t forget that includes weekly livestreams of games in virtual reality.

Source: Dish


NBA gives you a better view of games on your phone

Just because you can watch live sports on your phone doesn’t mean you’ll enjoy it — the footage is usually optimized for TV, which sometimes means staring at players the size of ants. You won’t have to squint if you’re an NBA League Pass customer during the 2016-2017 season, though. The basketball streaming service is trotting out a Mobile View option that gives you a close-up shot in its Android and iOS apps. You can switch back to a traditional view when you want an overview, but this promises to help in those moments when you want to identify the ball carrier or get a good look at that impending dunk.

And crucially, this isn’t just a matter of cropping the regular view and calling it a day. The NBA and Turner Sports installed new cameras in every team’s arena, and each game has a producer dedicated to Mobile View. You should experience the same quality that you’d get on TV, just with a new perspective. As always, though, you’ll have to pay to see this for yourself. A full season of out-of-market games will cost you $200 US, while a team-specific pass will set you back $120; individual games cost $7 each.

Source: NBA League Pass, NBA (YouTube)

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