What comes to your mind when you think of sports? Probably fitness, exercise, endurance, fatigue, fun and you’d rarely end up getting a word science in the list.
Someone has rightly said-
The team that wins might be the best athletes, but they’ll certainly be the best scientists.

From cutting edge materials in sports equipment to simple physics laws that bend soccer ball in mid-air, sports demonstrate science in an exciting yet powerful way.
Ever thought what makes Michael Phelps a great swimmer and how Usain Bolt is so much faster than you, why you would prefer a wooden baseball over that made of aluminium and how can a human body turn some grams of diet into a record-breaking sprint. Physical exertion and skills, that’s what sports seem to be all about but if you observe it more closely, you’ll find every game in the lap of mother science.

Cricket the national pastime of India demonstrates physics in a way that makes viewers staggered. Correct bat selection which in itself is a theory, choosing a light bat may impart you speed but would certainly impoverish the power. Same goes with racquet games with racquet tension being inversely proportional to power. Quite mathematical though but the list doesn’t end here, grip firmness, force applied, air resistance, collision factor are few names the player keeps in mind while making a brilliant shot.

Recently this World Cup marked it’s closing. From power-packed qualification matches to nail-biting finals we all relished the game with our loved ones. But apart from those excellent deliveries, we encountered significant loopholes in umpiring which was a major topic of the debate a few days back. Whether the umpiring should be replaced with technologies might be a topic of discussion, but yes, the use of technologies can certainly minimize such mistakes in the future. Advancement in fields of machine learning and artificial intelligence gives a brief insight into what our future is heading towards and can probably introduce robot umpires. With such advanced, technologies one can undoubtedly reduce the errors to a large extent.

Snikometer

Well, we all know that Snikometer or Ultraedge is used in to detect fine edge which is very difficult for the Umpire to hear in the loud noise of the audience. Invented in around 1990’s by an English Computer Science and it works on a simple principle- Filter the ambient noise and amplify the relevant signal. When the ball hits the bat it produces a sound of a particular frequency and the stump microphone picks up the sound of the ball hitting the bat. It first filters this sound which is of a particular frequency from all the ambient noise. This can be achieved with the help of a resonance filter. At the receiver, this sound is amplified and plotted to note the variation in the sound. A sharp variation denotes the bat hitting the ball and a flat peak means the bat has hit the pad or part of the body.

Hot Spot

There is another Technology which is used for a similar purpose but it uses two infrared cameras on the opposite side of the ground. This technology is known as HOT SPOT. This helps us to check whether the ball struck the batsman pad or bat. These cameras measure the heat generated from the friction generated due to the collision. Using a subtraction technique a series of black-and-white negative frames is generated into a computer, precisely localising the ball’s point of contact.

The most popular Technology used in Cricket is Ball Tracking Technology used for LBW. Using a subtraction technique a series of black-and-white negative frames is generated into a computer, precisely localising the ball’s point of contact. The images captured by the cameras are converted into 3D images by the computer which then shows how the ball will travel on an imaginary cricket pitch. This technology is so good that it can track any type of ball movements be it spin, swing, bounce with 99.99% accuracy.

Technology is not limited to cricket only but to other sports as well. Think of a rich sport and golf strikes you. Have you ever observed a golf ball? It has dimples not to embellish it but to reduce drag, allowing it to go farther. A golf ball has 336 dimples on average.

If you are a soccer fan, then you must have seen the mid-air bending shot popularly called the banana shot which brilliantly demonstrates another science theory: MAGNUS EFFECT which is simply turning of a spinning object moving through the air due to pressure variations on its either sides. The same phenomenon is applied in swing bowling in cricket.

These examples give us a flavour of what science can do. Science not only has laid the foundation of sports but evolving modern sports as well. It is creating super-athletes competing in more than 8000 indigenous sports all over the world. It is making sports unrecognizable to the previous generation. From diet supplements to modern swimwears science is nourishing modern generation sports.

Keep Exploring & Stay tuned for further blogs!

Team Technothlon 2019

Technothlon is an international school championship organized by the students of IIT Guwahati. Technothlon began in 2004 with an aim to ‘Inspire Young Minds’

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store