I am sure that many of you have a favorite sport. In the states, many would answer football, soccer, baseball or basketball. Whatever sport you favor, athletes not only undergo tough training but research and analyze their and opponent’s performance in order to identify their strengths and more importantly their weaknesses. It is starting to become far less uncommon for athletes to incorporate technology into this process, making it much more accurate and efficient. Such technology has been around and used in popular sports such as football, where a microchip in the ball helps identify when it is a goal, and in badminton where the players can challenge judge’s decision by using technology that identifies when the shuttle is in our out. As long as sports remains to be a popular form of entertainment in our society, technology will join this field for the better.
My favorite sport table tennis has finally got its turn to get some of the benefits that technology could bring to the sport. Being played in such a small court, it required precision much more than any other sport, and just a few centimeters or a few milliseconds of error could mean a big difference. Therefore, this was something that most if not all table tennis fans were looking for. As of now, the international table tennis federation uses its numerous cameras in order to get data on the spin and speed of the balls so that the viewers can get a numerical sense of the intensity of the player’s performance. Although more advanced and practical technology is demanded by the table tennis community which I hope to see regularly be imputed and used by athletes.
Zhong Lin Wang has been playing table tennis for 4 years and is a material scientist at the Georgia Institute of Technology. His passion for table tennis sport leads to him succeeding in inventing a table that detects where the ball landed, where it is heading, and its velocity. Stephen Orens writes an article showcasing this new technology. The table does not require a battery of any sort and is designed so that the ball hitting the table creates a wave of reactions sending an electric signal to the computer analyzing the data. Wang states how this technology can be used to analyze the behavior and habits of a player. This technology will be useful for players of any level. When used by a developing player, the player can analyze his or her play to remove any dangerous habits from the start to develop a flawless form straight from the beginning. Advanced players can use this to perfect their strokes and to find ways to get their balls a head or two above the rest whether through spin, speed or placement. The point is that we could rely on technology to collect and analyze data that athletes could interpret to understand what it is that they need to improve on and change. At this level, it is still up to us to determine the further use of the data collected by this new technology. In the future, more and more data collection and analysis are said to be automated and all fields including sports.
Ornes, Stephen. “Self-Powered Surface May Evaluate Table-Tennis Play.” Science News for Students, 14 Jan. 2020, 6:45 AM, www.sciencenewsforstudents.org/article/self-powered-surface-may-evaluate-table-tennis-play.