Issue 38 of Factor: The Sports Industry’s Hop, Skip and Jump into the Future. Out now!

In July’s issue of Factor we’re looking at how the sports industry is marching into the future.

Sports is, at times, one of the most and also one of the least forward-looking industries in the world. Millions are spent every year getting athletes at the top of their game, while developments offering even the most minor improvements are often leapt upon with blind enthusiasm. On the flip side, regulations, restrictions and a strong sense of tradition can often keep the sporting world back from rapid development.

It’s a fine line, but in this issue we’ll be looking at how sports could change if the industry embraces the progressive side of its culture.

Some decades ago, the four-minute mile was considered the pinnacle of athletic achievement. Now, however, it’s become standard practice, and a new target is being obsessed over: the two-hour marathon. We look at the incredible challenge that this goal presents, and ask if it’s a realistic ambition.

Over in the world of tech-assisted sports, Formula One sees refinement every year. But with so much going on under the hood, and driverless cars becoming increasingly promising, is there really a place for humans in the sport? We consider whether drivers are a necessity in F1 and if they could, eventually, be consigned to history.

Beyond F1, tech-assisted sport has a new player: drones. A few short years ago drone racing was an underground affair, where enthusiasts competed in car parks and fields. Now, however, it has gone mainstream, with international broadcasts on major channels and a viewership topping 70 million. We look at the rapid development of drone racing, and ask where the limit is for this breathlessly entertaining sport.

Behind the scenes, player acquisition is big business, with a host of methods dominating across many different sports. In football, scouting players in person has remained the dominant approach, but the Moneyball technique has gained increasing traction. We consider the rivalry between the two different methods, and ask what’s likely to dominate the beautiful game in the future.

Plus, when it comes to sports, nutrition is king. But when it comes to peak performance, the methods sports professionals have taken to reach their optimum have seen major changes over the years. We look at the diets of sportsmen through history, from the unorthodox meals of ancient Olympians to the highly tailored menus of today’s athletes.

And if that wasn’t enough, we also check out the sports that are using virtual reality to transform the viewing experience, take a stab at predicting the wacky sports of the future, check out the world’s fastest accelerating production car and look inside the high-tech world of modern sports stadiums.

As well as this there’s all the latest news, reviews and we look at the return of the rail shooter Star Fox 2, in issue 38 of Factor magazine – out now on iPad and online.

Wanted man captured thanks to facial recognition

A Chinese man who was wanted by police for “economic crimes” – which can include anything from tax evasion to the theft of public property – was arrested at a music concert in China after facial recognition technology spotted him inside the venue.

Source: Abacus News

SpaceX president commits to city-to-city rocket travel

SpaceX president and chief operating officer Gwynne Shotwell has reiterated the company’s plans to make city-to-city travel — on Earth — using a rocket that’s designed for outer space a reality. Shotwell says the tech will be operational “within a decade, for sure.”

Source: Recode

Businessman wins battle with Google over 'right to be forgotten'

A businessman fighting for the "right to be forgotten" has won a UK High Court action against Google.. The businessman served six months’ in prison for “conspiracy to carry out surveillance”, and the judge agreed to an “appropriate delisting order".

Source: Press Gazette

UK launched cyber attack on Islamic State

The UK has conducted a "major offensive cyber campaign" against the Islamic State group, the director of the intelligence agency GCHQ, Jeremy Fleming, has revealed. The operation hindered the group's ability to co-ordinate attacks and suppressed its propaganda.

Source: BBC

Goldman Sachs consider whether curing patients is bad for business

Goldman Sachs analysts have attempted to tackle the question of whether pioneering "gene therapy" treatment will be bad for business in the long run. "Is curing patients a sustainable business model?" analysts ask in a report entitled "The Genome Revolution."

Source: CNBC

Four-armed robot performing surgery in the UK

A £1.5m "robotic" surgeon, controlled using a computer console, is being used to shorten the time patients spend recovering after operations. The da Vinci Xi machine is the only one in the country being used for upper gastrointestinal surgery.

Source: BBC

Virgin Galactic rocket planes go past the speed of sound

Virgin Galactic completed its first powered flight in nearly four years when Richard Branson's space company launched its Unity spacecraft, which reached supersonic speeds before safely landing. “We’ve been working towards this moment for a long time,” Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides said in an email to Quartz.

Source: Quartz

Google employees protest being in "the business of war"

Thousands of Google employees, including dozens of senior engineers, have signed a letter protesting the company’s involvement in a Pentagon program that uses AI to interpret video imagery and could be used to improve the targeting of drone strikes. The letter, which is circulating inside Google, has garnered more than 3,100 signatures

Source: New York Times

Computer system transcribes words users “speak silently”

MIT researchers have developed a computer interface that transcribes words that the user verbalises internally but does not actually speak aloud. The wearable device picks up neuromuscular signals in the jaw and face that are triggered by internal verbalisations — saying words “in your head” — but are undetectable to the human eye.

Source: MIT News

Drones could be used to penalise bad farming

A report by a coalition of environmental campaigners is arguing squadrons of drones should be deployed to locate and penalise farmers who let soil run off their fields. Their report says drones can help to spot bad farming, which is said to cost more than £1.2bn a year by clogging rivers and contributing to floods.

Source: BBC

Californian company unveil space hotel

Orion Span, a California company, has unveiled its Aurora Station, a commercial space station that would house a luxury hotel. The idea is to put the craft in low-earth orbit, about 200 miles up, with a stay at the hotel likely to cost $9.5 million for a 12-day trip, but you can reserve a spot now with an $80,000 deposit.

UK mobile operators pay close to £1.4bn for 5G

An auction of frequencies for the next generation of mobile phone networks has raised £1.36bn, says regulator Ofcom. Vodafone, EE, O2 and Three all won the bandwidth needed for the future 5G mobile internet services, which are not expected to be launched until 2020.

Source: BBC