With 10,500 competitors from 205 nations taking part in 26 sports at the London Olympics, smart technology has had an important role to play in bringing it all together.
According to CNN, here are some of the ways smart technology is at work at the Games.
Installed at a few locations at the Games, they can be controlled remotely and swivel 360 degrees. "The biggest help will come from cameras stashed in floodlights, rafters and scaffolding in and around Olympic venues to provide imagery from places inaccessible to human photographers due to space or security reasons," NBC News wrote.
Much of the sound you hear on TV during the Olympics isn't real -- well, at least in the sense that some of it wasn't recorded during the event being shown. Some of the audio is recorded in advance, in optimized conditions, and then superimposed on the TV broadcast, writes The Atlantic. The site gives the example of archery, which an Olympics audio engineer says is based on the sound he heard watching "Robin Hood." He captured it by putting a special mic on the ground between the archer and target, which, as Alexis Madrigal points out, creates a sound no person could actually experience at the event.
Some people are calling this the "Twitter Olympics." Others say it's the "Data Olympics." Many athletes are using sleep-tracking devices and motion-capture systems to understand, with a new level of precision, how their bodies work. According to the Financial Times, some biometric device companies are trading athletes their participation for data that they can use to improve their body-tracking gadgets.
Australian cyclists trained ahead of the Olympics on London's cycling course even though it was thousands of miles away by using virtual reality. As the Australian Broadcast Corporation notes in a video package about the technology, the cyclists watch a screen that looks like a video game but actually is a "mile for mile, hill for hill recreation of the London Olympic road cycling course."
American runner Shannon Rowbury trained for London with a treadmill that simulates weightlessness. The AlterG treadmill uses anti-gravity technology developed by NASA to give runners the feeling that they are only 20% of their actual weight, the company says. In an interview posted on the company's website, Rowbury said the treadmill helped her start running much more quickly after a stress fracture.
Omega, the official timekeeper of the games, has debuted new starting equipment for swimming and track-and-field events. The track starting blocks are fully electronic for the first time whereas previously 1970s technology required athletes to push back the blocks 5 millimeters to register a start, according to Wired. The swimming starting blocks now light up to indicate who placed first, second and third.
Taekwondo has been at risk for being eliminated from the Olympics, but technology that registers the strength and accuracy of kicks may save the sport. "I think taekwondo will really benefit from the technology because it will ensure the medals go to the best athletes, not to someone else because of a mistake from a referee or a judge," World Taekwondo Federation President Choue Chung-won told Reuters. "This is a wonderful opportunity for us to remain in the Olympics. Not many sports have this kind of technology. ... It will help eliminate human error in taekwondo."