Games and sports are part of diversity and entertainment. Throughout history, thousands of different play activities have been invented, from old board games such as chess, to athletics or extreme sports. In the last decades, digital technology has added a new dimension to the enjoyment of our free time.
In a world where sport is increasingly competitive, technology can make the difference between winning and losing, with the help of design and computer-aided modeling; The equipment used in many sports is continuously improved. Tennis rackets are increasingly powerful and effective, soccer balls are lighter and sports shoes offer better support and better absorb impacts.
Advances in fabric technology have allowed the development of high-performance sports garments. Swimmers, for example, can use aerodynamic swimsuits that allow them to save vital fractions of a second. Fabric ventilation systems keep athletes cool and dry. Skiers and mountaineers stay warm with light jackets, but with maximum insulation.
Of course, sport is not the only leisure activity: computer games have been successful all over the world and millions of people know them, the first video game, “Tennis for two”, dates from 1958 and was played on an oscilloscope ( apparatus that measures sound waves). The first videogame for television was pong, and it was presented in 1975. In it, two players hit a ball from one side of the screen to the other. Today, console games are more sophisticated and difficult: from building and directing imaginary cities and recreating war scenes, the games are so complex that creating them is as expensive as shooting a movie.
Digital technology has opened a world of creativity opportunities. Before affordable camcorders and video editing programs were available for any user, recording a video was a reserved activity. Now everyone can make a movie. The same goes for music. In 1950, the electric guitar revolutionized popular music; Today, digital technology is having a similar effect. It does not take knowledge to compose music: there are already computer tools that do almost all the work.
The way we receive leisure is also changing. Almost all households have several devices: television, audio systems, DVD players and video recorders. Today, in addition, they can have everything in a single device. Thanks to wireless communications and high-speed internet connections, the PC is becoming a digital center that brings together different forms of leisure available.
“In 2004, 4,000 million people, two thirds of the world’s population, watched the Athens Olympics on television”.
Each time it is easier to share the experience of video games. Wireless connections and high-speed connections will result in a greater number of games in red, where players can compete with other players from the antipodes, instead of a computer. There will also be great advances in controls and interaction with games. The buttons and control levers can be replaced by sensors and cameras for reading body movements and facial expressions. A recognition of rapid drowning to orders.
The explosive growth of computer power could make it difficult to differentiate between the real and the digital, as early as 2012. New visualization technologies will further reduce differences. In the 1990s, virtual reality allowed people to immerse themselves in a virtual world with a pair of glasses in which computer images were projected, the next step will probably be a screen integrated into the head, which can ‘project images directly to the retina, inside the eye. The enlarged reality will further blur the borders of the real, by allowing us to see the real world through that screen and superimpose computer generated images, sounds and even smells.
Some of these worlds will remain alone in our fantasy but others will immerse us in much closer experiences, the so-called “epistemological games” will allow us to face the challenges of the lives of other people, such as surgeons, architects, pilots or soldiers. These games are already part of the training of many professionals and will become more detailed and realistic over time.
Back in the real world, the spectators who attend sporting events, from athletics to football, will have a more participatory experience from the stands, wireless portable devices will allow to see a repetition of a play immediately, from different angles from the stadium. It will also be possible to access all kinds of information, from complex rules to statistics of players or teams.
As space flights become more accessible, we begin to dream of practicing zero gravity sports, out of the earth’s atmosphere. In 1971, golf was played for the first time on the Moon, when Alan Shepard hit a ball. In the future, perhaps we can do boat races with solar sails, powered by the energy of solar winds. As the ships would not have to load any fuel, they will be able to travel faster. So, who knows, maybe the limit is beyond the stars.