By Andrew Liszewski
There’s no question that technology plays a big part in modern sports, particularly when an athlete relies on a piece of hardware like a pair of skis. But instead of improving how the skis perform, researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany are using RFID to improve how a skier’s performance is monitored during training. Typically, coaches and athletes have relied on videos of a run to analyze the weaknesses in a skier’s technique, but that approach lacks concrete data or accurate measurements.
But RFID transmitters attached to the front and back of a pair of skis in conjunction with receivers alongside the slope can be used to continually and accurately measure the position of the skis to within 3 centimeters. So at the end of a run not only do you have empirical data about whether or not a skier has drifted from the ideal path, or if they’re carving and cornering properly, but you can even tell if the skis were parallel to each other.
The new system appears to still be in development right now, and it will need to be perfected to the point where it doesn’t affect a skier’s performance or even drag during a run, but I’m sure down the road it will be responsible for the demise of a few Olympic records.