When I was in high school, a friend of mine made the Junior Olympics in épée. I remember going to her practices, watching the strange combination of grace and awkwardness that arose from the wires that stretched out from the back of the fencers to permit electronic scoring. My friend loathed them. Being tied to the wires converted an inherently balletic sport into something far more mechanical. When I tuned into the Olympic épée matches the other night, the first thing that struck me was that the wires are gone—courtesy of RF.
Wireless technology is remaking our world—my 86-year-old mother has a Wi-Fi hub in her house and takes it as a given that she can print from any room she likes. Wireless technology is also remaking sports. In tae kwon do, for example, scoring unit from Truescore integrates sensors with chips from Texas Instruments to convert foot-to-torso contact to a point on the scoreboard. The system uses a microprocessor to handle the data and a Zigbee transceiver to send the signal.
That's not the only place wireless is making an appearance in sports these days. At the London games, the organizers use wireless-enabled scales to weigh athletes in the various martial arts sports.
What other types of tasks you think wireless can perform in this kind of a sports venue?
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.