How Technology has Changed the World of Fencing | The Tech Race


Welcome to the Tech Race. En garde. Thanks to wireless systems, fencing athletes
have been liberated. (WIRELESS FENCING) In a world where wireless
has become the norm, fencers, who historically have
depended on cable to compete, have cut the cord. (WIRELESS FENCING
WAS FULLY IMPLEMENTED (IN THE OLYMPIC GAMES RIO 2016) It’s always been my dream to basically eliminate
these wires. Fencing has to keep moving so
we can’t carry around big, heavy spools when we
want to go fencing. You have to prepare each time and we lose time for training. (UNITED KINGDOM) (LONDON) We visited the renowned
Leon Paul Fencing Centre, where brothers
Ben and Alex Paul have developed
a wireless fencing system that aids in training. Essentially you just
have a transmitter which sits in your back pocket and we’ve got a radio
communication system which has been built specifically
for wireless fencing. So it’s not using any existing
radio technologies out there. Wireless fencing looks like it’s going to be a very simple
problem to fix but it’s much more difficult
than people think. The main difficulty is actually
that the fencers all have different equipment. Because it was specified
for a wired system, without changing
the fencer’s equipment, which would obviously
be very expensive to do for the whole world, it’s very hard to solve the physics problem
that is wireless fencing. (THE LAME IS AN ELECTRICALLY
CONDUCTIVE JACKET (FOR FOIL AND SABRE) The device transmits
hits to a main scoring box, which, when combined with
laser-line technology, eliminates any doubts whether
anyone has gone out of bounds. (FOIL ELEMENTS, BELLGUARD, (GRIP, NUT,
WASHER, SOCKET, BLADE) The wireless system gives you
more freedom to move. When we find a way to protect
the back of the head, you’ll be able
to fence in circles. (THE FENCING PISTE IS
14M LONG AND 2M WIDE) When I started as a kid,
I definitely thought that’s what it’d be like, a bit of
Pirates Of The Caribbean. But it’s completely different, like dynamic chess. Strategy is a key word
in fencing. The sport may suggest fighting, but the term comes from defence and has been part of
the Olympic Games since the beginning, in 1896. (FENCING IS ONE OF THE FIVE
ORIGINAL SPORTS THAT REMAIN (FROM THE OLYMPIC GAMES 1896) Fencing runs deep
in Ben and Alex’s family. Their father, Barry Paul, classified twice
for the Olympic Games and their great-grandfather
was also an instructor who later founded the
London-based Leon Paul factory in the 1920s and made their first jackets
using recycled sacks. Now, when we get a hit, you
can see the face being lit up and you actually can see how the fencer is feeling,
and that again is, I think, going to add another
dimension to fencing. As a fencer,
when you score a touch, you can see the light
straightaway, it lights up so you know,
yes, I’ve made the touch. (SABRE, EPEE AND FOIL ARE
THE THREE FENCING DISCIPLINES) The mask, which incorporates
LED lighting, made its debut at the
Olympic Games London 2012, adding a new dimension
to the sport by illuminating combatants
on each hit, giving immediate feedback
and an element of emotion. (OLYMPIC GAMES RIO 2016) Fencing is a very traditional
sport and people don’t like change. We’ve always done it this way
so people think we always will do it this way. But hopefully
people will see wireless fencing is excellent for the sport and will open up
great new opportunities. In the future
we will be looking at adding motion-tracking
into the weapons so we’ll be able to tell
how fast the fencer is moving, how fast the weapon is moving. You see films like Star Wars and Errol Flynn
and Zorro and the fencers are running
around and it looks fantastic. I love thinking
about a new product and in the middle of the night I’ll come up with an idea
and I’ll write it down. (THE TECH RACE)

11 Replies to “How Technology has Changed the World of Fencing | The Tech Race

  1. Learn more about amazing technology in sports in The Tech Race series: https://www.olympicchannel.com/en/playback/the-tech-race/

  2. 'Adding an element of emotion' …. I'm left with wondering how heavy these helmets are? Could helmets be too light?

  3. There are some infamous refrees in the world of fencing, hoping technology can abandon the use of human refrees.

  4. Im an electronic engineering student i wonder how leon Paul detects whether or not the hit was on the lamé or not do you detect the change in capacitance of the blade or the lamé? If yes isn't it very unreliable if femcers are sweating and the whole system changes its capacitance? I would love. To know more about this technology

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