TechGraphs News Roundup: 1/15/2016

2016 already has seen more than its share of changes, so we welcome you back to the regularity and predictability of the TechGraphs News Roundup with this collection of sports-tech stories we found interesting this week.

The 2016 Consumer Electronics Show wrapped up on Saturday. We covered the highlights in last week’s Roundup, but the good folks at Baseball Prospectus assembled a nice summary of some of the baseball-specific applications showcased there. (And don’t miss our own Bryan Cole in the comment section with a video clip of Shaq O’Neal wiping out while testing a baseball swing analyzer.)

Speaking of the future of baseball, the trial in Garber v. Office of the Commissioner of Baseball, a class-action lawsuit against MLB over the league’s television-broadcast policies, starts on Tuesday, and Nathaniel Grow has a preview of the arguments.

While CES featured a number of audio companies promising future development in the wireless headphone space, two, Earin and Bragi Dash, already have retail-ready wireless earbuds. As this thorough review explains, truly wireless earbuds still have some hurdles to overcome, one of which is the fact that our dumb human heads are full of water, an unfriendly medium for the transmission of wireless signals. While it’s apparent that this technology remains in the developmental phase, it will be interesting to see whether it has uses beyond personal fitness and entertainment, such as for communications between football players and their coaches.

Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, among others, has backed Courtside Ventures, a Detroit-based $35 million venture capital fund targeting early stage sports technology and sports-centered media startups. Early indications are that the group is interested in virtual reality and analytical data.

Way back in September, we were one of the first site to tell you about Pylon Cam, which since has become the star of this (NFL and college) football season. After its special seat at the table during ESPN’s multi-platform broadcast of the college football national championship game, it should come as no surprise that CBS will be incorporating the technology into its Super Bowl 50 coverage. Also included: a 360-degree replay view courtesy of thirty-six cameras mounted on the stadium’s upper deck and a camera providing viewers with the on-field perspective of certain players, such as the quarterback.

It seems as if companies make these types of claims every week these days, but a company called VCIS just unveiled a new style of football helmet that they say reduces the threat of head injuries. Putting a dual-shell design into an attractive helmet is no easy task, but th high price ($1,500 a pop) might be a hindrance. VICIS hopes to have the helmets for sale before the coming football season.

Speaking of football, if you happen to fall in the very narrow spectrum of people who don’t care about the Super Bowl, but happen to have a Google Cardboard headset lying around, you’ll be happy to learn that this year’s Puppy Bowl will be broadcast in VR.

Finally, today is the deadline for nominations for the 2016 Sports Technology Awards. If your proposal, development, technology, or product in one of about a dozen categories is good enough, you could earn a trip to the awards ceremony in London this April. Past winners include the All England Lawn Tennis Club (known to most Americans as Wimbledon) in the “Best Technology Partnership” category for their partnership with IBM, something we’ve documented here.

That’s all for this week. Have a mindful Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend, and please be excellent to each other.

Alec is a founding contributor at ALDLAND and a writer at Banished to the Pen and TechGraphs. He interfaces with sports twitter @ALDLANDia.

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