Editor’s note: WRAL Local Tech Wire is adding another feature with the launch of the “Innovation Exchange.” Noah Garrett, former executive director of communications for the North Carolina Technology Association, is a creative spirit, from writing music to news stories, who recently launched his own communications firm. The focus of the Innovation Exchange is just that – creating a Web community through which people can exchange ideas and foster creativity.

Send ideas and feedback to: noah@thinkngc.com

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK –
There is innovation everywhere, especially in sports.

I love sports, and this came to mind this week because of the upcoming Super Bowl (Super Bowl is a trademarked term, by the way, so we must use Big Game from now on). But, before we delve into the world of professional football, some other sports came to mind that are using computers, new technologies and creative thinking to go beyond the status quo.

For instance, since we are in the heart of racing country here in North Carolina, let’s take a look at NASCAR. Now, I’m not a huge fan of stock car racing, but think about the research and development that goes in to creating a winning race car. Enjoy this article on The Car of Tomorrow at the accompanying NASCAR Web site.

Now, I may not like NASCAR all that much, which is blasphemy in North Carolina to say the least, but I do love surfing. And surfing is one of the most innovative industries out there. It is a $10 billion a year business that is always on the cutting edge of new ideas and improvements; anything from developing warmer and stronger wetsuits to environmentally-friendly surfboard design and even global surf travel. Webcams and the internet have revolutionized surfing. There are webcams operational all over the world where a surfer can check real-time conditions and weather. Check out the surf line Web link and see how Gidget and Moondoggie now get their surf report.

Based on space, it would be difficult to discuss every innovation right now in every sport. Hey, if your favorite sport is badminton and you know something really cool happening in badminton, let everyone know. Post a comment and we’ll talk about it. That’s what the Innovation Exchange is all about.

Lastly, since the Big Game is Sunday, let’s take a look at professional football.

For the players, the main supplier of helmets to the NFL is Riddle. Riddell is introducing a new football helmet called the Revolution, a first-of-its-kind helmet using new technology with the intent of reducing the risk of concussions. This computer designed helmet marks the first significant structural change in a player’s headgear in nearly 25 years. Check out the Revolution Web link.

For football fans, where would we be without instant replay or skycams to enhance our television viewing experience? We have so much available to us now and just wait until the technology is perfected to have fiber-optic fields. Haven’t heard of it, check this article out on the development of Turf TV at The Globe and Mail Web link.

Boys and girls, innovation is everywhere. It’s nice to take a step back and realize how far we’ve come and how much further we can go – even in sports.

Enjoy the Big Game this weekend. My prediction: Patriots 42 – Giants 10.