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A company called AlterG has employed anti-gravity technology developed by NASA to create advanced treadmills that give the runner the feeling of only 20% of their actual weight. Running with that feeling of weightlessness is a highly effective tool for physical therapy and athletes in training. Team USA runner Shannon Rowbury, who will run the 1500m at London 2012, used AlterG to recover from a stress fecture in her femur. She was back on the ground running only 6 weeks after the diagnosis, and said that she doesn't think she "would have made the World team last year if I didn’t have AlterG to help me train through my injury."  Run, Shannon, Run!
Virtual Reality Cycling
As an Olympic cyclist, it might be hard to prepare yourself mentally and physically for a race course to which you have zero access beforehand. Training for far-off courses has been especially hard for the isolated Australian team, but this is no longer a problem. Top cyclists and scientists came together at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra to develop a virtual model of the London 2012 cycling course. The team has yet to ride on the course in reality, but they've already completed the track multiple times in training back home in Australia. Good on ya, Aussies!
A year ago, a South African named Oscar Pistorious qualified for London 2012 as a runner in the 400 meters and the 4x400 meter relay. You've probably heard of him. They call him "Blade Runner" and "The Fastest Man with No Legs". That's right, Oscar runs on carbon-fiber prosthetic legs, a technology that has been rapidly improving every year he's been competing. His prosthetics have been an extremely controversial subject for the IOC, but next week, Pistorious will finally become the first disabled man to compete against able-bodied athletes in the Olympics. And he owes it all to the amazing scientists behind the technology. If he'd been born 100, or even 50 years ago, people would have laughed at his athletic ambitions. Now, he's going for gold!
Taekwondo's Protector and Scoring System (PSS)
Unlike FIFA, the WTF (World Taekwondo Federation) is welcoming technology with open arms. They have no choice, really, as the Korean martial art's foothold in the Olympics has been jeopardized since becoming an official sport at Sydney 2000. Despite having 70 million practitioners worldwide, notable critics have said it should be removed from the games because of its complex scoring system and inconsistent judging.  Well haters, starting this week, you will have no argument. At London 2012, the WTF will implement a new scoring system, PSS, which automatically measures the strength of each kick to the body and scores it. It has been tested for the past 2 years and also allows for an instant video replay, thus insuring a Taekwando competition that will be as fair and transparent as possible.
Electronic Starting Blocks
The watch company Omega, the official timekeepers of the London 2012 Olympic Games, have developed new starting block technology for both track and field and swimming events. The new track and field blocks (pictured at right) are an especially welcome addition to the sport, as it marks the first time they will be entirely electronic. As opposed to the old system, which has been in place since the Montreal 1976 games, "the new blocks use electronic sensors that measure the force against the block to determine reaction time" , thus ensuring that false-start disqualifications are extremely accurate. The new swimming starter blocks will light up to indicate who placed, which is more of an improvement on the spectators end rather than for the athletes.