The game may be the same, but the gear is different: This Saturday, as NFL prospects try to impress coaches at the Combine workouts, a few players will don smart shirts–souped-up sports attire that measures everything from players’ heart rates to g forces of acceleration.
Designed by Under Armour and Zephyr, this sophisticated shirt is called the Under Armour E39. It weighs less than 0.3 pounds and boasts a load of sensors that sit just below the athlete’s sternum; the sensors include a triaxial accelerometer, a heart-rate monitor, and a breathing-rate monitor. As an athlete practices, trainers can follow the player’s vital signs on their smartphones, laptops, or any other device that can receive Bluetooth data. As Wired explains:
“What we have is something very close to the body’s center of mass that’s measuring the accelerometry data from that center of mass,” Under Armour vice president Kevin Haley told Wired.com.
This past summer, a crowdsourcing company called Crowdflower wanted to see if the wisdom of crowds could best ESPN pundits by making better predictions of the season’s best football players. Against the power of crowdsourced labor from Amazon’s Mechanical Turk site, the ESPN list didn’t stand a chance. The results show that the crowdsourcers beat the experts hands down, and the outcome is especially clear in the top 25 players’ ranking.
Before the season started, Crowdflower had 550 workers vote on which one of a pair of players would be the more valuable member of a fantasy league team. Stats on the players were available for those who wanted help, but complete novices were warned off. “If you think football is a game where you’re really only allowed to touch the ball with your feet, this probably isn’t the job for you,” read the advert.
But how exactly does crowdsourcing harness such soothsaying powers? From New Scientist:
“The simple answer is that we got answers from a large number of individuals, so the influence of one individual’s bias is smaller,” says Crowdflower’s Josh Eveleth. “People who were uninformed would tend to cancel each other out, so any significant trend would be meaningful. We had a much larger pool than ESPN did. And because our crowd responded independently of each other, they were less likely to be influenced by groupthink than the ESPN experts.”
We wonder if the NFL will get the memo, and start crowdsourcing its draft picks…
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Image: flickr / Ed Yourdon
Penn State’s college football team has a new trick in its playbook–courtesy of acoustical science.
Penn State graduate student Andrew Barnard’s acoustic mapping research illustrates how the relocation of 20,000 student-fans in Penn State’s Beaver Stadium could lead to more wins for the Nittany Lions football team.
Last year, during three homes games, Barnard recorded and measured crowd noise at the stadium using a series of strategically placed acoustic meters. He found when the Nittany Lions had the ball, the crowd noise reached 75 decibels on the field. But when the opposing team played offense, the noise climbed to 110 decibels. As a result, the visiting quarterback’s calls could only be heard within about 18 inches from him.
Barnard wondered whether he could make it even tougher for visiting QBs. So when the stadium was empty, he used a loudspeaker to create noise in various seating locations and measured the sound intensity on the field. According to Gizmodo, Barnard zeroed in on the stadium’s acoustical sweet spot, where the loudest fans could be the most effective against opposing teams:
Thousands of onlookers gathered on Sunday to watch and film the planned implosion of the Texas Stadium in Dallas. The 65,000-seat-stadium was home to the Dallas Cowboys for 38 years and was witness to some thrilling football moments–but all good things must come to an end. The stadium was demolished because the team moved to the new billion-dollar, state-of-the-art Cowboys Stadium last season.
An 11-year-old named Casey Rogers, the winner of a local essay-writing contest, pushed the button that triggered the implosion, and thus set off 1.5 tons of explosives that brought down the stadium in a systematic manner. In the end, just three pillars stood leaning, leading Herbert Gears, mayor of the Dallas suburb of Irving where the stadium was located, to joke to AFP: “Now we’ve got Stonehenge.”
Not only were curious onlookers on hand to observe the implosion, but so were a group of seismologists. In a project nicknamed “Demolicious,” a team led by Jay Pulliam of Baylor University in Waco, Texas used seismometers around the stadium to try and get a clearer picture of the region’s geological features.