The world of sport is as varied as any area of our lives, even more so than some. More and more people are getting off the sofa and getting involved in sport. Here we’re going to look at 5 of the world’s strangest technology based sports, I’m sure there are many more out there but these are 5 that I personally think would be good fun to join in with and feel that they use technology in some of the most innovative and interesting ways.
The official governing body for this sport that spans across the world from the US and Barbados to the UK and Lebanon is the ISPA, or the International Segway Polo Association. The rules of the game are adapted from other more conventional polo games like horse and bicycle. With 4 8-minute sections, or chukkers, in a game, the aim is to use your mallet to knock the ball into the goal, any goals unless accidental cannot be scored off anything other than the mallet. The field measures in at 200 feet (61 meters) by 128 feet (39 meters) with the goal being 8 feet (2.4 meters) wide by 5 feet (1.5 meters) high with a safety zone around the border. According to the ispa website, the most recent winner of the WOZ Challenge Cup is Barbados.
This is an Amateur HAM-radio based sport with the aim being to get in touch with as many stations as they competitor can in a specific period. These competitions run on mainly the HF Bands with some exceptions which organisers have deemed off limits. The contests draw in a varied number of competitors and to enter a player must submit a log of all stations contacted, this can either be done on paper or, in most people’s case, an electronic computerised version that uses software to ensure no duplicates occur. If you’re considering entering, here’s a few tips from winners: read the rules thoroughly, check all equipment for any problems, plan your food, drink and bathroom breaks, and establish a plan.
A player wins a drone race by having the best score; this is calculated by the time taken to complete a course and the amount of checkpoints the player reaches. One of the sports main professional bodies is the DRL or Drone Racing League, all the drones are built in-house and their competitions take place in a number of locations including warehouses and sport stadiums. The ‘pilots’ wear goggles that give them a first-person view when flying to allow them to see what the drone sees which is really vital as the course is 3D and the drones go out of view of the naked eye for most of the race. Every lap a pilot is given a new drone which is previously checked for correct control and video feed.
This sport started in 2000 in Finland but is now spreading around the world with championships and teams in the US all the way to the Czech Republic and Liechtenstein. Players throw mobile phones and are judged on their method and distance. There are 4 major categories- Original or traditional, Team original, Freestyle and Junior. The original means that competitors have to throw the phone over the shoulder and the winner is the player who throws it the farthest, Freestyle is judged on the aesthetics and creative choreography, Junior is for those under the age of 12 and Team original is similar to Original but the teams scores are added up. Phones that are allowed to be used vary between events with some specifying a model and others allowing any phone over 220g to be used and in the Mobile Phone Throwing World Championships these options are provided by the sponsor.
Robot fighting is one of the more well-known and dare I say cooler technology based weird sports. The idea is quite simple, robots made by teams or individuals battle it out to see whose robot is both more powerful and more impressive. There are numerous leagues, tournaments and associations around the world dedicated to this sporting giant including the FRA, or Fighting Robot Association, and the Robots Live competition. As we’re all aware by now, there are even some TV shows dedicated to Robot fighting such as Robot Wars which is particularly popular in the UK, and BattleBots in the U.S. These remotely controlled death machines are awe-inspiring when you consider their technological and mechanical configuration and then the prowess and ability that go into controlling and battling with these machines.
Whether it’s a Finnish man throwing a mobile phone or a team of Barbadian men rolling around on Segways, there is always those brilliant and let’s face it eccentric men and women who will find a sporting use for even the most mundane objects and technology and I for one definitely feel rather glad these people exist in our world of hate and drabness! The future is a treasure trove to these individuals as technology becomes more advanced and more wide spread, you never know we may all watch Segway polo in the same way we watch Soccer or Football. Whatever the situation, keep your eyes peeled because I promise you, you won’t be disappointed.