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New tech enhances TV viewer experience

In athletics events where the start is critical to success, many fans have no perspective of what it’s like to compete at such a high level. Seiko’s new Block Cam technology changes that — it gives television viewers a look at action that has never been seen before.

Incorporating two cameras in the front portion of starting blocks, Block Cam technology allows TV viewers to see everything — from the athletes’ faces as they settle into the blocks, to the explosiveness of their powerful starts as they take off after the gun.

Developed over the course of a year in cooperation with the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), Seiko’s blocks provide a unique glimpse on sports’ fastest competitors.

The starting blocks also house Seiko’s Start Information System, which senses when the athletes leave the blocks via the pressure on the foot plates. The system compares the timing of a pressure change to the timing of the start gun with an accuracy down to one-thousandth of a second. A pressure change before the firing of the starter pistol is considered a false start and a second pistol sound is generated through speakers in the blocks to alert the competitors, officials and spectators.

As the official timer of the IAAF World Athletics Championships, Seiko’s technology is not limited to the starting blocks. The company’s newest state-of-the-art equipment is also incorporated in the photo finish technology that sees cameras scanning the finish line 2,000 times per second. Seiko’s Video Distance Measurement system measures the distance covered in the long and triple jump events, as well as the throws in shot put.

At the 2019 IAAF World Athletics Championships in Doha, television viewers, as well as the sport’s brightest stars, are in good hands thanks to Seiko’s latest technology.

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