Tech at the 2012 Olympics: Quantum Timers, Robotic DSLR Cameras and One Huge Wi-Fi Hotspot

As far as the sport goes, the Olympics are “The Event” in every athletes life. But what about us, the geeks? The only connection we have with sports is that we watch it (via HD internet stream if possible) or we play it (every year, thanks to several game production companies). But what really gets us going is the backstage, the technical part of the story.

The fact that this years’ Olympics are in London is quite funny – the last time London hosted the Olympics was back in 1948, when the first photofinish camera was developed. It was called the “Magic Eye” but it was used just as a backup – if judges had a hard time deciding who was first!

Timing is Everything (At the Olympics)

In Olympics, timing is probably one of the most important parts of the whole system. A single second (or less!) can make the differencee between the gold, silver, bronze or no medal, so whatever the clocking mechanism is, it should be very accurate. That’s why for London 2012 Omega, the official timekeeper of the Olympics, used four timing technologies which will make the Games more accurate.

One of them is the Quantum Timer, which can time 16 competitors simultaneously within one-millionth of a second of accuracy. There will be more than 450 professional timekeepers as well to make sure everything runs smoothly. And you thought your iPhone stopwatch would be good enough 🙂


Oh, photo geeks will enjoy this! Getty Images are supplying most of the images, as they got the role of the official photographer of the Games. 60 or so photographers are working on taking approximately 30 thousand pictures! There are 3D images, 360 degree shots, helicam shots and what not.

Photo source:

Also, Reuters is using its robotic DSLR cameras, which are controlled from the ground by joystick-equipped photographers. You can read more about it (and take a look and what it all looks like) at Reuters blog.

Social Media

Nothing goes without social media today and the Olympics are aware of that. NBC, the official media partner of the Olympics made an arrangement with Twitter to get the Games covered, socially. You can follow the Olympics on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Make sure to open up their Twitter profile where you’ll find the list of sport-related Twitter profiles as well.

If you’re in London for the Olympics, and you need Wi-Fi – don’t worry – practically the whole of London is now a huge hotspot, so you shouldn’t have any trouble tweeting and facebooking your Olympic experiences!

So, although its a very old tradition, the Olympics are very modern when it comes to technology.


Nikola Krajacic

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