From kitchen timers to massaging water bottles, some surprising inventions – and inventors! – surround the Olympic Games. Read on and get inspired to invent something that solves YOUR problem today! Brackitz building toys are a great way for young inventors to improve their problem solving skills.
The first electronic timer was developed specifically for the Stockholm Games in 1912. Inventor Ragnar Carlstedt’s creation offered more accurate results than the stopwatches officials had been using previously, but Carlstedt didn’t stop there. He also invented the first photo-finish camera. Placed at the finishing lines of many races, these images have helped determine exactly who crossed first for years.
Massaging Water Bottles
Olympic speedskater Brian Hansen is more than a world class athlete. He’s also an inventor! He and his brother invented a water bottle that doubles as a foam roller that can be used to relieve sore muscles.
Smart Soccer Balls
A company called Fraunhofer IIS out of Germany created a system that inserts a small chip into a soccer ball that is then read by sensors in the goalposts to determine whether a ball has really crossed the line. The technology was used in the Rio Olympics.
A simple tool is at the heart of the DiveCam, “the first dropping vertical camera system” that keeps up, eye to eye, with divers as they freefall from more than 50 feet in the air. The camera is attached to a basic pulley system and is released as soon as a diver leaves the board, following them all the way down. Invented by cinematographer Garrett Brown, this cam also captures the moment the diver hits the water, helping judges review the smoothness and splash-less-ness of the diver’s entry.
Although some inventions are designed specifically for use at the Olympics or by Olympic-level athletes, many of us are actually using Olympic-inspired inventions every day! From sharkskin swimsuits to parabolic skis, we can thank the Olympics for more than just great TV! Teach your kids about being an inventor!