Future Tech Winter Olympics Edition: Featuring 'training' in virtual reality & Korea's high-speed train.
Under Armour hopes its high-tech speed skating suit will lead to victory
The speed skating suit has always been the technical marvel of the Winter Olympics. With high-tech fabrics and unusual construction, it’s designed to eke out every bit of athletic optimization. In a sport where a thousandth of a second can determine who gets a medal and who doesn’t, athletes rely on technology to give them an edge.
Speed skaters wage a battle with physics every time they race. As their muscular bodies cut through the air at more than 30 mph, they leave a trail of drag in their wake. The key to winning (against physics and humans alike) is to reduce the amount of air resistance a body produces. Part of it is stance and part of it is the suit.
Under Armour’s new suit is an overhaul to the Mach 39, the controversial uniform that many blamed for the US team's poor performance in Sochi. In 2014, not a single US speed skater medaled, despite the high prospects going into the Olympics. Under Armour was a natural scapegoat.
Related: Robot carries Olympic torch
Skiiers learn the course in VR
The 2018 Winter Olympics are almost here. For the skiers and snowboarders of Team USA, that means constant training on the slopes — and in virtual reality.
For the past two years, U.S. Ski and Snowboard has been working with Strivr, a VR training startup based in Menlo Park, California. The Utah-based national governing body for skiing and snowboarding uses Strivr's VR platform to train athletes for World Cup competitions as well as the upcoming Olympics.
Where VR is most useful for Olympians, according to Strivr CTO Brian Meek, is in course repetition. Skiers and snowboarders often only get one chance to experience the course they'll be racing on before a race itself, and they'll get that chance a few days before (or even the day of) the event.
U.S. athletes are able to take 360 videos of the course they'll be racing, and are able to ski that course over and over again, using Strivr's VR platform, when they get home.
High-speed train debuts just ahead of the Games
On December 1, tickets for the much awaited Korea Train Express (KTS) high-speed rail link between Seoul and PyeonChang went on sale.
Members of the public will be able to put the train to the test for the first time on December 22. Meanwhile, any Olympic fans wishing to use the link to reach PyeongChang 2018 will be able to book their tickets, one month prior to their intended travel dates, according to local organizers.
As well as from Seoul’s three main rail stations, the high-speed link will also run a direct service from Incheon International Airport. It is anticipated that the KTX will transport up to 20,910 passengers each day from Incheon to Jinbu (PyeongChang) and Gangneung stations, enabling easy and quick travel to the two main hubs of the sporting programme.
The longest journey time, between Incheon International Airport and Gangneung, will be just under two hours, and there will be 51 trains scheduled to run each day, meaning that travel to the Games could not be easier. Meanwhile, those travelling directly from one of three stations in the capital city, Seoul, will be able to reach PyeongChang in as little as 67 minutes.
See more IT & Tech innovation stories and let us know the interesting technology stories you come across.
About the Author
The Editorial Team develops articles, company profiles and resources for the Business Hub to bring IT, tech and innovation stories to the Manitoba business community.More Content by The Editors