The Coolest Sports Tech Coming in 2014
It seems that we all need the latest and greatest things the second they come out, right?
Well—besides maybe soccer—sports is absolutely no different, as the games and the products athletes use in the games are always evolving and ever-changing.
As I pointed out last year with some of the cool tech the sports world would be introduced to, here are some new gizmos and gadgets to keep an eye out for in 2014.
Specialized App Communities
We all know about the big-time players in the app world like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram that bring people together by sharing custom content, but besides finding the random hashtags that pop-up during every game we watch, how is it easily organized for sports fans?
Therein lies the problem—it isn't.
Until now, of course.
With specialized apps for sports fans to share content, both of their own and other sites, places like Fancred should be something every diehard has in order to keep the trash talk going.
LG Lifeband Touch
The idea certainly isn't new—as activity recording wristbands have been around for awhile now—but the LG Lifeband Touch is just one of many new pieces of wearable sports flair.
Equipped with an accelerometer that will track steps taken, calories burned and distance—like most other activity trackers—the device also has Bluetooth 4.0 compatibility which stays connected to your phone without flushing the battery.
And no need to continuously check the thing, as notifications go both to your smartphone and the band itself, making it low-hassle for all you gym rats to view when you're ready.
This might not be a good sign for all the shooting coaches out there, but it's a sign of evolving tech making its way into the mainstream sports scene.
Rather than worry about release points and the force with which a player is shooting, the 94Fifty basketball actually records all the data for someone, allowing an app to analyze each shot thanks to sensors on a ball.
You might not turn into the next Ray Allen, but it should help save you the embarrassment of a few air balls in your rec league games.
Babolat's Play Tennis Racquet
Just like the aforementioned 94Fifty basketball which records a hooper's shot info, the Babolat Play tennis racquet has the same capabilities for athletes who prefer a different kind of court.
Rather than go all geeky on you, the bottom line is this device helps players get better by analyzing their own data and tendencies.
It might be a bit much for the occasional player, but for those who want help getting better, it's something worth investing in.
Eye-Tracking Ski Goggles
Carrying a price tag of nearly $58,000, getting a pair of eye-tracking goggles for the slopes might be a bit more than you or I would want to spend.
If you're serious about your skiing though, then maybe you'll want to try these puppies out.
With a camera focused on the eye and one on the track ahead of you, these goggles will help a skier focus on what's in front and not so much with what's to the side—because the last thing anyone wants is a wreck because of a distraction.
For British snowboarder Zoe Gillings, she's hoping the tech is the difference between medaling and missing the cut in this year's Olympics.
If you don't want to go with any of the previously mentioned sports sensor analyzers, the Zepp sensor might be what you want.
Tracking your whack swing in three sports—baseball, golf and tennis—it's multi-sport idea will help you improve in more than just one weekend activity. Which I'm guessing is necessary.
Storing a ton of info for all of your slices of the tee and whiffs in your company softball games, this sensor should help you at least make you look like you know what you're doing out there.
I know that as a sports fan, one thing that's super frustrating is getting to the arena and seeing a ton of empty seats.
It's especially hard when you paid $40 for seats in the nosebleeds, yet still see an entire section below you wide open.
Thankfully, that's what Gametime was developed to help out with—to fill empty spots, at a last-minute price.
So when your buddies split from you because they don't have seats to the game, you can just text them and have them take the spots that are open below you as an alternative to overpaying a scalper.
After being a dinosaur in the development and use of technology in its games, the sport of soccer sure has evolved in the past few years—especially now that goal-line cameras will be used at the World Cup.
Other than just implementing that piece of tech though, soccer has seen a new assistant to the refs—Referee Pro—which replaces the referee's notebook and pen with a smart device, giving real-time scores and stats straight to the leagues, players and fans.
Sure, the refs will still make bad calls, but at least fans will have something less to gripe about.
Google Glass in Sports
Sure, we all know about GoPro and how action sports connoisseurs have been using the mobile cameras for years now, giving us some sick videos.
For some reason though, mainstream sports have failed to do a solid job at replicating this idea for its own sports, typically finding that bulky cameras just obstruct players and add weight.
After seeing the NBA's No. 2 overall pick Victor Oladipo wear Google Glass at the draft this past year might urge the major sports leagues to at least consider a way first-person POV technology could work, though.
Is this the year? Who knows—but it would be cool to see what our favorite players are doing while competing, wouldn't it?
This Year's Super Bowl Gear
Over the years, sports fans have seen some pretty dope field gear for players and coaches to rep, and this year's Super Bowl will be no different.
With the Super Bowl being played in a predominantly cold-weather stadium for the first time ever in a few weeks—New York's MetLife Stadium—everyone in attendance and on the field will want to stay warm and stylish.
So Nike released a sneak peek of a few items that can do just that—and I must say, they're pretty cool and high tech at the same time.
I don't need to be the guy to tell you that sports can get super expensive.
So what's an alternative to spending your cold hard cash to catch a game? That would be the digital currency, bitcoin.
And thanks to the NBA's Sacramento Kings becoming the first pro franchise to implement the alternative style of payment for their fans, the little coins might be catching on.
Just as I had mentioned a second ago with the prices of sporting events, the other problem for fans is that when they actually get to the stadium the cost of concessions can be outrageous. Lines to their seats can be hectic as hell and the overall experience might be a bit underwhelming.
That's why the company iBeacon is working with MLB to help support the fan by testing out a few areas where people can get all the info they require to have a good time in one place—their phone.
We're all tweeting, Snapchatting and posting to Instagram from our phones all the time anyway, so why not use your phone for something useful at the park?