TechGraphs News Roundup: 6/19/2015

The News Roundup is back to try to fill you up and never let you down with the sports-tech stories we found interesting this week.

As we near the end of bracket play in the College World Series, two of the biggest winners of the first week in Omaha have been the Vanderbilt Commodores and UmpCam. This video from the SEC Network reviews the history of umpire-mounted cameras, discusses the process of incorporating the new technology into the umpires’ equipment and the television broadcast, and gauges fan and player reactions. If nothing else, it’s nice to see the continuing influence of the XFL across the sporting landscape.

The U.S. Open golf tournament, which began yesterday in Tacoma, Washington, also is seeking to enhance the fan experience, and we aren’t even talking about the legal marijuana. Fox Sports has installed microphones inside each of the tournament’s eighteen holes with the goal of capturing “the atmosphere around the green.” Golf Hole Mic’s manufacturer estimates a useful pickup range of approximately 100 feet, which should be sufficient to allow us to hear what Jordan Spieth is telling his ball while putting.

Epson, “a brand best known for its ink cartridges computer printers,” is entering the retail sports technology market with a line of sports watches and an endorsement from distance runner Meb Keflezighi. Geared toward runners and golfers, the watches dispense with the need for often-cumbersome chest straps by using an optical light sensor to monitor heart rate, and they sync biometric data with Epson’s own app and popular third-party apps. Meanwhile, Microsoft and TaylorMade have collaborated on a golf app for the Microsoft Band, a wrist-borne device that promises to be slightly more helpful than a magnetic ion bracelet and a real threat to caddies everywhere.

From technology created for athletes to athletes using technology to create things, TechCrunch reports that Derek Jeter’s athlete-voiced website, The Players’ Tribune, recently received $9.5 million from a group of outside investors led by NEA, one of the earliest investors in BuzzFeed. Regardless of who’s actually creating the content at The Players’ Tribune, the site’s demonstrated ability to draw large-scale investments means it’s unlikely to fade away anytime soon.

Finally, while Major League Baseball is a proving ground for some of the most advanced sports technology available (and the management responsibility that comes along with access to that technology), it is nice to be reminded from time to time that the entire endeavor fundamentally relies upon a simple network of land line telephones.

That’s all of our time for this week. Enjoy the weekend, and, in the readily endorsable words of our Managing Editor, David G. Temple, 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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8 years ago

Nothing from E3? I heard FIFA 16 is dropping soon