Football - Technologies being Developed to Advance Football with a Focus on Australian Rules Football by NanoVic

Topics Covered

Background
On-Site Testing of Player Fitness and Fatigue
Technology to Assist Referees and Officials
Data Gathering for Training Staff
Technology Advancing in Players Equipment
Improved Comfort for Spectators and Fans

Background

In a recent panel of experts selected to discuss the future of the Australian Rules Football (AFL), only Rodney Eade, the Western Bulldogs coach, acknowledged the role of science and technology in shaping football into the future (Lane & Saltau 2006). In fact there are several technological applications that are being developed in Australia right now that could have implications for players, coaches, umpires and fans.

On-Site Testing of Player Fitness and Fatigue

Dr Bob Irving of Nanotechnology Victoria heads a project that will produce faster and more accurate, on-site testing facilities - the lab in a box. This means that it would be possible for coaches and medical staff to conduct testing for lactic acid levels using just sweat samples during the game. Players and coaches would receive instantaneous feedback that lets them better determine fatigue levels than just observation. This could result in more productive on-field play and more effective rotations.

These advancements are on top of research and development in nutrition and conditioning that clubs and bodies like the Australian Institute of Sport undertake continuously. The footballer of the future could have a longer career and better post-career fitness.

Technology to Assist Referees and Officials

It's not just player health and fitness that could be affected by technology. Increasing miniaturisation of computing devices could allow for sophisticated communications between umpires on the field. Sensors on the goals posts would remove the goal umpires. More sophisticated surveillance will bolster the 'video' referee.

Data Gathering for Training Staff

Likewise, unobtrusive tracking devices could be worn by players. RMIT University and the CRC for Microtechnology have developed sensors that provide detailed physiological data on athletes during training in the field. In the future, telemetric devices could be attached to players so that coaches receive extraordinarily detailed feedback on a player's physical condition during the game. Coaches could communicate tactics directly to players without interrupting the game. This information could be supplemented by networked databases recording observations from training sessions, physiotherapy feedback and medical records to provide extensive performance analysis. Players will require the ability to translate the information they receive from these devices and their coaches to make physical adjustments at a finer level than today.

Technology Advancing in Players Equipment

Advances in nanomaterials and textiles could also provide players with clothing that delivers better protection and temperature control while being light and flexible. Boots could be transformed by lighter and more resilient materials that form more closely to the foot. Studs could be improved for traction on wet and dry surfaces, minimising fatigue and injury. Odour minimisation is another definite advantage of such materials.

Improved Comfort for Spectators and Fans

So players could be fitter, smarter and better equipped, but let's not forget the fans. Imagine sitting high in the stands wearing clothing that keeps out the cold, wind and rain while allowing plenty of movement to cheer and yell at your team. And it won't stain when the tomato sauce drips from your pie.

Primary author: Dr Kristin Alford

For more information on this source please visit NanoVic.

Date Added: May 17, 2006 | Updated: Jun 11, 2013
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