Technology in Sports

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Technology in Sports: Boon or Bane?

Outline of Report

1. Introduction

2. Will technology ever replace human referees?

a. Adopting technology: Development of photo-finish technology

i. History and evolution

ii. How it works

iii. Future

b. Using technology as a reference: Development of Hawk-Eye technology

i. History and evolution

ii. How it works

iii. Controversies

iv. Future

c. Abstinence of technology: The debate in football

d. Conclusion

3. Is it ethical to use technology to improve performance?

a. Improving performance: swimsuit technology

i. History and evolution

ii. Controversies

iii. Future

b. Conclusion

4. Conclusion

5. References


An era of rampant technological developments has impacted sports tremendously. In this report, we aim to explore how photo-finish and hawk-eye technology have brought about more fair competition in professional sports today as compared to the past. We will also look into how swimsuit technology enhances physical attributes to improve the performance of athletes.

However, as with all forms of technologies, there are criticisms and controversies involved. We will examine the controversies thoroughly and conclusively argue upon the impact of technology on sports.

Will technology ever replace human referees?

Technology has permitted accurate judgement in sports to provide fair competition for athletes competing at the highest level.

Adopting technology: Development of photo-finish technology

Most notably, photo-finish technology’s far-reaching usage can be seen in all major racing competitions and sporting events such as the Olympics and Commonwealth Games.

Photo-finish technology was introduced since the early twentieth century. Since its inception, the technology has grown leaps and bounds towards perfection. The increased reliance of racing sports on the photo-finish technology to determine winners has proved the technology’s prominence and importance in the sporting arena. It has affected an irrevocable change in racing sports the world over.

History and evolution

The photo-finish technology is used to accurately determine the winner during a ‘Dead Heat’ (when 2 or more competitors cross the finish line at seemingly the same time). Sometimes, the naked eye is unable to decipher accurately where the horses/competitors are at the finish line. During these split-second moments, the original slit camera was used to determine who had indeed crossed the finish line first. However back in the 1930s, this ‘5 minute’ reviewing process was an arduous and nerve-wrecking moment for punters as they waited for the still photo to be produced and the winner decided upon.  Before the introduction of photo-finish technology, even when there was a very close finish, most judges would usually declare a winner. It was rare during the pre-photo days for the judge to declare a dead-heat.

Today’s modern photo-finish camera provides real-time and instantaneous results, much to the relief of punters and spectators alike.  The photo-finish camera now incorporates various forms of sophisticated technology such as photocells and a digitalized system.

How it works

The image produced by the photo-finish camera may look like a normal, panoramic image. However, it is a composite image constructed from a number of narrow photos aligned together. The camera captures vertical images along the finish line with width as thick as the line and it takes numerous images whenever a moving object crosses this line. These images will be built on consistently from the left of the first image captured. The photo-finish image differs from a normal photo, as...
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