Silicon Valley Super Bowl Shows Off Cutting Edges in Sports Tech

Silicon Valley Super Bowl Shows Off Cutting Edges in Sports Tech
It's First and Foremost, About Football
Carolina's Bionic Linebacker Uses Brace Made by 3D Printer
Tracking Every Route, Every Move of the Players
Augmented Reality
Levi's Stadium Security
Opening Night Tech
Helmet Kiosk
Tracing the Performance of Super Bowl Ads
Good Advice on Using Stadium WiFi
Live Interactive Meetup Saturday With Former Super Bowl Hero
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Silicon Valley Super Bowl Shows Off Cutting Edges in Sports Tech

Super Bowl 50 brings out the latest technology—from the stadium's more than 1,200 WiFi hotspots to virtual helmets of fans' favorite teams.

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It's First and Foremost, About Football

Wilson Sports, which came out with a connected basketball a year ago, introduced a similar football, the Wilson X, this week during Super Bowl festivities. The ball uses a low-power Bluetooth technology to connect to a phone app. The basic app that will come with the Wilson X gives the user a quarterback rating based on the ball's rate of spin, the speed and distance of the throw, and whether the spiral is tight or wobbly. During public demonstrations in the Bay Area, Wilson gave players three throws each to score the best rating. The ball can't be recharged, but power is used only when needed; the battery is designed to last two years. No pricing plan has been set yet; it will become available next season.

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Carolina's Bionic Linebacker Uses Brace Made by 3D Printer

Carolina linebacker Thomas Davis broke his arm in the Panthers' NFC Championship Game victory over the Arizona Cardinals and underwent surgery Jan. 25. Davis now has a metal plate and 12 screws holding together his right arm, but has been practicing "very nicely" according to his coach, thanks to 3D tech. If he plays, it will be the first time an NFL player has used a 3D printed piece of equipment on the field. "Thomas Davis is already the 'bionic man' in our book," said Scott Perone of 3-D Elite, who, along with Whitecloud's 3D Printing, created the one-of-a-kind brace that Davis will wear on Sunday to play in the Super Bowl. "This personalized 3D brace lined with Poron XRD makes him a bit more indestructible." It's made from a composite blend of rigid plastic and rubber-like materials; it is firm yet flexible and provides significant shock absorption.

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Tracking Every Route, Every Move of the Players

Durham, N.C.-based sports technology company SMT created the yellow first-down lines for football games on television, and they're unveiling new technology that will be used for the Super Bowl. SMT's 3D graphics will monitor data coming in from every player 10 times per second; the new technology will quickly analyze it and predict the chances of success on any given play. Information like this typically wasn't made available for several days, but the new technology makes it available live.

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Augmented Reality

During the pre-Super Bowl 50 activities in San Jose and San Francisco, fans paying admission fees of $25 to $75 got a chance to use new augmented reality headsets from several companies that offered virtualized information about players' running, throwing and receiving motions. Coaches and athletes can use these devices for improving economy of motion and, therefore, performance.

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Levi's Stadium Security

Security will be at a very high level on Super Bowl Sunday. The federal Department of Homeland Security has designed it a Level 1 threat event, meaning it has the highest priority for security. San Jose, Calif.-based Allied Telesis has come up with a connected network application that connects the local Valley Transit Authority network, which runs all public transit in the area, and all its security cameras with the security command post inside Levi's Stadium. If there is a threat of some kind anywhere in the vicinity of the stadium, law enforcement at all levels will be on the same video page to counteract the problem.

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Opening Night Tech

At the SAP Center in San Jose during the pre-event festivities, thousands of fans bought tickets ranging from $25 to $75 and up to sit and watch interviews with players on the Jumbotron, take photos of players and coaches, and tweet and SnapChat their impressions to friends and family members. They watched videos of previous Super Bowl moments and recorded their own videos as keepsakes. Those who paid top dollar got to meet their heroes in person for selfies.

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Helmet Kiosk

Here's a simple but fun tech item that fans will see at the stadium: A kiosk that will view and size a person's face, and then place the image into the fan's favorite team helmet. When the image is ready, the fan hits a button, adds his/her email address, and the image is sent to him/her in seconds to hopefully become a valued keepsake.

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Tracing the Performance of Super Bowl Ads

Dynatrace will be measuring the Web and mobile site performance of the Super Bowl advertisers live during Super Bowl 50 and will provide a "Performance Bowl" analysis of the top and bottom performing advertisers. Dynatrace will also monitor other related sites, including betting/gaming and fantasy football sites and more. For more details, view the prep-game blog here. The Dynatrace "Performance Bowl" will be tracking NFL Websites, ticket sites, team sites, betting/gaming/fantasy football sites, the official broadcaster site and, of course, advertiser sites.

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Good Advice on Using Stadium WiFi

Despite the fact that the stadium will have 1,200 WiFi hot spots in operation all day on Super Bowl Sunday, and because virtually everybody will be trying to take SnapChat or regular photos and send them to friends and family around the world, connections will be slow. Xirrus, which designs and sells wireless networking equipment, offered eWEEK the following advice: 1) if possible, download the 49ers' WiFi app before going to the game; 2) beware that the strongest signal at the game may be a spoof, and not the stadium's WiFi; and 3) avoid sending any personal credit card information over the Internet while at the game.

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Live Interactive Meetup Saturday With Former Super Bowl Hero

Blue Jeans Network and NFL quarterback Drew Brees will be celebrating Super Bowl 50 with a live, interactive video event over Blue Jeans Primetime, and you are invited. On Saturday, Feb. 6, from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. PT, Blue Jeans Primetime will host Brees for a video broadcast "Big Game Chalk Talk."This event will bring football fans across the country into the action and offer direct communication with one of the NFL's most popular champions. Register here (copy and paste into your browser): http://pages.bluejeans.com/Drew-Brees-Super-Bowl-Event-Registration-Press.html

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