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Embedded Systems in the 2016 Rio Olympics and Their Influence
Staff Writer

Since its inception, embedded system technology has continued its relentless march into our day-to-day lives. From the GPS tracking system in your car to the printer in your office, devices that are powered by embedded systems are all around.

However, the applications of embedded systems aren’t just confined to the realms of consumer electronics.

The influence of embedded systems, in sports specifically, is far greater than one could imagine. Whether you are a sports fan or someone who loves to see their country participate in international events, the Olympics make up some of the most exhilarating weeks. People around the world are glued to their TV sets, watching a myriad of events and rooting for their country with great enthusiasm.

While you may have rejoiced at the news of Michael Phelp’s 28th Olympic medal, have you ever wonder about the technology inside the pool and behind the scenes? From improving the performance of the athletes to declaring the winners, technology has transformed the Olympics at a breathtaking pace.

So, exactly how much of that technology involves the use of embedded devices?

Applications of Embedded Systems in Training

Once entering any sports facility, you’ll notice the equipment used by athletes today is smarter than ever, designed to improve speed, strength, and agility. These machines come with various settings that allow athletes and trainers to make changes to its mode of operation and speed due to embedded systems. So, the next time you alter the speed of your treadmill with the press of a button; don’t forget to thank embedded technology.

Application of Embedded Systems in Performance Monitoring

In today’s age, merely practicing isn’t enough, especially when someone is competing against Olympic athletes. The athletes and more importantly, their coaches, have to monitor every aspect of their performance to ensure they perform at their best at the games. Thanks to the application of embedded devices, performance monitoring is better, smarter and more detailed than ever before.

With pedometers, heart rate monitors, RFID tags, smart watches, etc., athletes are using state-of-the-art technology to prepare themselves for the Olympics. These devices record the number of laps, track times, count the number of steps taken, etc. Motion sensing devices in the form of Wearables are helping runners, gymnasts and swimmers closely monitor their movements and performance.

Boxers aren’t far behind either when it comes to using technology and innovation to enhance their performance. While preparing for the Rio Olympics, a considerable number of boxers used a small device that is placed inside the boxing gloves to track the speed, angle, and accuracy of each punch. Embedded Technology.

Applications of Embedded Systems in Timing

The timing systems in Olympics are highly sophisticated as the timer is set off by a gunshot, and a laser system stops the timer at the finish line. So, every time an athlete crosses the finish line, the laser stops the timer at that instant and the time is recorded.

In the case of swimming events, contact plates are used to stop the timer as each swimmer touches the wall of the pool at the end of the race. Embedded Technology.

The Rio Olympics have taken things to the next level with the introduction of an electronic scoring system for the archery events. Although the paper targets look the same, each target is equipped with a hi-tech sensor that will automatically determine the score as soon as the arrow hits it. The new system is much more accurate and transparent, in addition to being faster than previous methods.

From the hi-speed camera at the finish line of a 100-meter race to the MP3 player used by the athletes to relax before the event, embedded systems had a ubiquitous influence on this years 2016 Olympics and will even more in future Olympic events.


Total Phase provides a wide range of cost-effective, up-to-date tools for developing, testing and manufacturing embedded system. Have any questions?  Feel free to email us at sales@totalphase.com.