The 2008 Technolympics

The 2008 Technolympics - I p II /1/ I 'I / RON SCHNEIDERMAN...

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Unformatted text preview: I p II /1/ I 'I / RON SCHNEIDERMAN CONTRIBUTING EDITOR RonScribe@aol.com ED ONLINE 19331 New modeling software, better timing, precise GPS systems, larger IT support, and other improvements should help athletes and viewers alike. But does it cross the line competition-wise? THE7 2008 Eryone v ects a good political demonstration or two at next r l mpic Games in Beijing. Maybe even a drug or ing s [dal. There may also be complaints about the envi- nhment. Ad, yo can count on some controversy surrounding Sthe advancel chnology at the Games. Yeah, techno . Much of tention-and tension-is expected to center o ' ube." The drama in this spectacular swimming venue, which was designed and built for this year's Olympics, will focus on the world's top swimmers and their new Speedo LZR Racer swimsuits. Speedo, the world's largest swimsuit manufacturer, has adopted computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software to significantly reduce the drag and skin friction experienced by swimmers and compress their bodies into a more streamlined shape, enabling them to cut through the water with more pow- er and agility (Fig. 1). CFD software is used in the aerospace and other industries as well as to simulate the performance of Formula One racecars and America's Cup yachts. Since the LZR Racer's unveiling in February, swimmers wearing it have set a staggering 38 world records and renewed the debate over whether technology has too much influence over the sport (Fig. 2).Japanese swimmers set 17 new national records wearing the LZR suit in one weekend in mid-June. "This is clear evidence of the power I. Ansys and Speedo of applying advanced engineering sim- use computational ulation technology to optimize all of fluid dynamics to test the design metrics of a product," says the hydrodynamics of Jim Cashman, president and CEO of swimmers like six-time Ansys Inc., which helped design the Olympic gold medalist new suit. Alberto Castagnetti, Italy's Michael Phelps in the national swimming coach, though, glide position and compared wearing the new Speedo throughout their races, suit to "technological doping." Speedo had a lot of help designing the suit, primarily from Ansys, a simulation software spet, and Aqualab, Speedo's own in-house R&D group. But it also worked with research- ers at the University of Otago in New Zealand, the University of Nottingham in the U.K., the Australian Institute of Sport, Optimal Solutions in the U.S., and NASA. In a sport where hundredths of a second can mean a gold medal or no medal at all, the Speedo research team has cut the passive drag of the LZR Racer by 10% from the earlier Fast- skin FSII model and by 38% over ordinary Lycra swimsuits still used by a few world-class swimmers....
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The 2008 Technolympics - I p II /1/ I 'I / RON SCHNEIDERMAN...

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