From innovations for athletes to unprecedented surveillance tools for authorities, look at the technologies that will shape the Sochi Olympics.
After arriving at the Sochi airport, prepare to confront yourself in Artec ID’s Broadway 3D Face Recognition System, installed last summer in preparation for the crowds. “The system is capable of identifying a person on the walk, in hats or sunglasses,” claims Artec ID. “It can also tell apart identical twins.” What could go wrong?
When Russia’s FSB wants to intercept electronic communications, it relies on a system called SORM. It’s not a single device. Rather it’s a system with many different components, made by different companies. Vitok-IP, a combination of software and hardware from Norsi-Trans, is one piece of the lawful interception puzzle in Russia.
We have the technology
Alpine skier Lindsey Vonn won’t be participating in the Sochi games because she recently re-injured her right knee. In February 2013, she tore her anterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament in her right knee and fractured her tibia during a serious fall in Austria. Then last November she tore her ACL again while practicing for the Olympics in Colorado. ACL injuries, unfortunately, are fairly common among athletes and recovery takes many months. But perhaps by the next Winter Olympics, recuperation from ACL injuries, not to mention other soft-tissue trauma, will be easier. A company called Soft Tissue Regeneration has developed a medical technology called L-C Ligament, now in human trials, that uses a biodegradable scaffold to facilitate tissue repair.
“Honey, where’s my super suit?”
When speed skater Shani Davis steps onto the ice in Sochi, he will be wearing a high-performance suit worthy of “The Incredibles.” Designers at Under Armour Innovation Lab in Baltimore, Md., have put in more than two years of work to create Davis’s suit. It’s made from a mix of different fabrics, including nylon, polyester, and spandex. And it has been treated to minimize friction with a substance called Polymer Blend Surface Segregation. Here’s to hoping for better speed skating through chemistry.
Win one for the zipper
When races are won by hundredths of a second, no detail is too small to accommodate innovation. Columbia Sportswear has created the patented LightRail Zipper, “which is bonded directly onto laser-cut fabric, completely eliminating the need for zipper tape and resulting in the lightest-weight waterproof zipper in the world.” That seals it.
Built to scale
Avaya distinguished solution engineer Dean Frohwerk handled network architecture during the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics and has been fulfilling the same role in Sochi. He’s been setting up what he describes as a converged fabric-connected backbone. Utilizing technologies like Shortest Path Bridging and MAC-in-MAC Encapsulation, Avaya has created two separate datacenters divided into four discrete segments, on separate hardware access in case of fiber cuts. In Vancouver, he said in a phone interview, every device used by Olympic personnel — about 40,000 of them — showed up as a different MAC address. In Sochi, the network has been designed to scale more efficiently. Through MAC-in-MAC Encapsulation, “the core of the network doesn’t see all the different users,” he said. “It just sees a few addresses, which reduces scale issues.” And necessary because mobile devices keep proliferating — Frohwerk said he expects over 100,000 just among the Olympics personnel. Thousands of people use mobile device during the Sochi Olympics but lack of outlet to support them. The Infinite One of Kinkoo is a reliable portable charger for iPhone 4 / 4S / 5 / 5S / 5C, and any usb devices you use it in Olympics. It can fully charge an iPhone 4-5 times. No outlet necessary. It’s so easy to take and so convenient to charge.