To reduce reliance on judgment calls by referees—a common source of disputes in the sport—taekwondo will introduce the use of electronic sensors embedded in athletes' socks and in their padded vests. The sensors will register blows that have landed.
Olympians use a wide range of technological training aids, from motion-capture videotaping to computer analyses of their biomechanics. Hypoxic (low oxygen) chambers like the one above, while not new, are booming; Michael Phelps slept inside one regularly to help his body recover from workouts.
U.S. cyclist Taylor Phinney will ride a $15,000 time-trial bike, the timemachine TM01, which has an extra-stiff carbon-fiber frame, a riding position adjustable in 30 ways, a weight of 17 pounds and a truncated profile to allow better airflow. Phinney, however, won't be using battery-powered electric shifting, opting instead for a manual shift.
New technology will let athletes and fans communicate and follow the Games as never before. Watch for tweets from the likes of @MichaelPhelps and @usainbolt. Olympic coverage apps will include SI's Live from London for the iPad.
FIELD OF DREAMS
For ball control and consistency, Olympic field hockey pitches are always covered with artificial turf. The London fields feature layers of adhesion and elastic shock absorption below a Poligras turf made from the latest tear-resistant polyethylene yarn. For the first time the fields will be bright blue, not the traditional green, to enhance ball visibility for players and fans.