Sunday, January 22, 2012

Peering into the Cutting Edge

Since sport began thousands of years ago human beings have always tried to find ways to gain an edge over their competitors. They have done this in many ways over multiple areas. When thinking of an athlete trying to "enhance" their performance the mind of the average person usually goes straight to that of increasing muscle size through an illegal method, (anabolic steroids). Also possibly that of an individual taking a stimulant to increase reaction time within their mind and body. People are naturally driven towards this negative type of assumptions, almost similar to how a new teacher only gives attention to negative behavior in the classroom and neglects the positives. Now though through a technological breakthrough one can enhance themselves in the world of sport. No, I am not talking about how the "Six Million Dollar Man" increased his physique, but by using technology while training to enhance how one plays during a game. Does this sound like science fiction? Well it seems as though it is science fact. 
Allen Reichow, Nike's "Director of Sensory Performance and Vision," has developed a new type of training tool that can significantly improve ones performance by simply just putting on a pair of glasses. These glasses oddly enough do not improve ones sight, but in fact limits it. What Reichow has found is that by taking away certain ares of vision during practice increases the bodies ability to interpret data with the little vision it has left. So when these glasses are taken off and vision is restored to full capacity the user is able to see objects and actions with better speed and accuracy. This is done by having the glasses the user is wearing become blurred in some areas, but stay normal in others. The area that is blurred can change depending on the program the athlete is training on and it is controlled by a small localized computer within the glasses them self. This technology has been around for years in the form of LCD televisions, but was never small, or malleable enough to put into an object like a pair of glasses. As for now this technology has only found its way into the sport of football, only being used by top NFL athletes. The possibilities of this technology though can be limitless. 
This ability to enhance oneself through technology is the most likely future of sports training. I enjoy technology, and I strongly encourage its use within Physical Education. I fear though a time when technologies use within sports causes a divide in athletes. When the only people that can compete in sports are the ones that can afford its use. As of now though technology has not progressed that far and it is only being used as an aid in training which I feel is amazing, but the day when it becomes the substitute of hard work is the one I fear. 

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