Bryce Dyer discusses Paralympic tech for The Conversation

Bryce Dyer, Senior Lecturer in Product Design at Bournemouth University wrote a feature article for The Conversation discussing some of the technology used in the Winter Paralympic Games.

Dyer stated, “Technology has long been a part of sport. Every event, whether it’s cycling, sailing or skiing requires uniquely designed technology. Over in Sochi right now, athletes are showcasing the greatest of innovations being pushed to the limits of their design.”

A number of innovative solutions have been created to assist competitors such as; Bluetooth headsets for the visually impaired, sophisticated sit ski’s where a seat is mounted to a single ski, and electro-acoustic headphones to effectively “aim” by listening to a tone that varies in pitch as they move their gun on target.

One of the newest additions to this year’s Winter Paralympics is snowboarding. For this event, specialised prosthetic limbs have been developed using linkages and pneumatic springs to help absorb impacts, but allowing “competitors to perform manoeuvres without being restricted by weight and mobility”.

“The Paralympic Games showcases novel sports that require innovative solutions to get the best from athletes, be it through engineering, wireless technology or adaptation of traditional equipment.”

Sue Thomas debates digital detox for The Conversation

Sue Thomas, Writer and Visiting Fellow for The Media School at Bournemouth University, wrote a feature article for The Conversation UK discussing the appeal of taking a ‘digital detox’.

“A digital detox can be achieved by disconnecting yourself from the internet and turning off your phone for short bursts of time to flush out the anxiety infesting your poor wired mind,” she said in the article.

Thomas also discusses the idea of taking digital detox holidays. “The Caribbean island of St Vincent and the Grenadines offers a digital detox holiday package where travelers exchange their smartphones for a guidebook explaining how to function without technology and a life coach to help them through it”. Another option would be Camp Grounded in northern California, which says it helps visitors to “disconnect from technology and reconnect with yourself”.

Thomas goes on to suggest that although switching off can be beneficial, the internet “is good for you in many ways”, such as “strengthening relationships”. Also “studies have shown that encountering nature on a screen can be as beneficial as the real thing”.

Thomas concludes by proposing “another kind of resort, one which offers not detox but intoxication – with both nature and with digital life. Gaze at the stars each night while tracking the International Space Station on your iPad; take wonderful photos and share them on Facebook, and journal the entire experience on whatever platform you like best”.

“If you have all that kit in the first place, you are a lucky grown-up living in the 21st century: enjoy it”.