Watching athletics will never be the same again if Google’s latest venture takes off the ground. Google Glass is a revolutionary technology that is specifically designed for people that are constantly on the run – quite literally – with active lifestyles.
The invention is a hands-free, head-mounted eye-computer that is generating a lot of interest in the sporting world. Its benefits are two-fold: advanced sport reporting and improved training regimes for anybody from the average cyclist in the park to an Olympic marathon runner.
Athletes and teams have been steadily experimenting with the innovative technology over the past few months and with the products consumer launch expected to come into effect imminently – speculation over Google Glass’s role in sports reporting is rife.
Imagine sitting down on your comfy sofa to watch Eilidh Child take on the hurdles during the European Championships and suddenly being transformed into to the stadium right into the mix of athletes. Switching camera angles to player point of views will bring you even closer to the action. Every nudge, stretch and stumble could be captured in minute detail as you munch on your Nachos from the comfort of your own home.
Of course, it’s very unlikely this technology will be utilised on such a large scale so soon after its completion, but the potential for future sporting events is vast. NBA commentators and players have already experimented with the equipment, and the high-tech eyewear even cropped up at Wimbledon last year where American player Mattek-Sands used it as a training aid. She is one of few “explorers” chosen by Google to test the product before release and says sports fans will eventually be able to see stats, videotape points to share on social media sites and tune in to watch a player from that player’s point of view.
Aside from the interactive benefits, Google Glass also provides the possibility to enforce more efficient match officiating. How many times have dreams been shattered and Nachos thrown at the TV in disgust over poor decisions in sports? Glass could provide constant streams of footage right in the heart of the action and speed up complicated decision making.
Communication between athletes and coaches could also be improved with the new technology. Runners and cyclists will be able to track their routes with GPS, analyse their performance and compare their stats and stamina with other competitors instantly without sabotaging their place in a race. The headset will also include a LynxFit option that acts as a personal real time coach – a feature that could go some way towards justifying the steep $1500 retail price of the Glass for the average gym bunny.
There are however deep-rooted concerns about the unfair advantage Glass may give to athletes if incorporated at all – though many cynics argue that the software would be more of a distraction than an advantage for focussed athletes in the first place.
American journalist and commentator Larry Magid is one of many critics who has added his voice to the debate. “I have better things to do with $1500 than invest in this,” he said in a report for Mercury News. “There are some who worry about distracted driving and walking. There is the temptation to look at the screen at inappropriate times, just as some are tempted to look at or touch their phones when they shouldn’t.
“For some, Google Glass is simply symbolic of the growing number of well-heeled techies who are flaunting technology many can’t afford. There is even a pejorative term that starts with “glass” and ends with “hole.” The word in the middle is a synonym for donkey.”
Despite these set-backs, many sporting organisations are still willing to back the radical eyewear in due course. WWE have already given the Glass their support and an NFL spokesman said that the network would be looking to incorporate it into game telecasts and training.
The athletics sporting body however could well be the pioneer that takes full advantage of this revolutionary technology. With the launch of Google Glass only a hop, skip and a jump away, the success of this project into our much loved sport is uncertain. Whether it turns out to be a record-breaker or a false start; Google Glass should be given the opportunity to perform.