Friday, September 30, 2011

High tech gets the boot!


My first “paid job” entailed writing software for one of the professors in the physical education department at Rice University. We did custom athletic modeling and animation using stick figures and motion vectors. There was not much available out-of-the-box then. I wrote programs on the Mac using Lightspeed Pascal, if I remember correctly. Interesting stuff. We actually presented this work at the AAHPERD conference in New Orleans! It may have even been my first publication! 
I don’t remember how much I was paid, but I also bought that professor’s car later - my first car - a yellowTotota Corolla SR-5 hatchback that I called “Porsche 0.1” since it had one tenth the pickup of a Porsche - that's a motion vector for you!! Today, I see news about this really hi-tech Adidas soccer cleat that automatically records the motion stats of the athlete - speed, sprint times, distance, stride rates, ... - allowing coaches and athletes, and, of course, websites, fantasy leagues and commentators, to speak volumes of sports data!
These stats are important. Critical, in fact. Yesterday, I watched Barcelona win a Champions League fixture 5 - 0, and the stats (passes attempted - >700, passes completed ~87%) clearly represent Barca's total domination and the reasoning for the crushing win! More impressive, see the 10 stats with which Barcelona dominated Manchester United during the last Champions League final. 108 kms. run!! This entire story - the set of stats - could be automatically compiled for every game if they used the magic Adizero Mycoach (or equivalent) soccer cleats! That’s an activity stream for you! Remember, though, that there’s only one stat that really matters! How many times did the ball get in the net?
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