For those who’re watching curling on the Winter Olympics (and actually, how could you not?), you might need observed one thing uncommon in regards to the stones utilized in competitors: a set of lights close to the handles that glow inexperienced infrequently. In a sport that is principally performed utilizing low-tech gear like chunks of granite and “brooms,” this high-tech function definitely stands out — however these lights are literally essential to making sure honest and correct sport play.
In the official rules of curling, as set by the World Curling Federation, these lights are referred to as digital hog-line units. Their job is easy. They guarantee, with digital precision, that the stone was launched earlier than crossing the hog line: the purple line on the ice marking the purpose the place groups should launch the stones or incur a penalty. The throwing participant has some leeway about the place alongside the ice sheet they ship their stone hurtling in direction of the home, however the hog line is the “level of no return” — throw the stone by then, or there is a penalty awaiting you and your workforce.
So how do they work, precisely? Based on The Independent, a warmth sensor is a very powerful a part of the machine. The sensor is embedded within the sheet of ice, and it is triggered if the athlete’s hand remains to be holding onto the deal with of the stone when it crosses the hog line. If that occurs, the lights on the highest of the stone will flip purple, and the workforce has to take away it from play. Shedding a stone during an end (a spherical of gameplay, in curling lingo) means one much less probability to attain and one much less probability to dam your opponents from scoring, so it is vital to keep away from these penalties in any respect prices.
Nonetheless, it does occur, even on the elite degree. It is already occurred on the Olympics: throughout a match between Italy and the US, an Italian roller triggered a hog-line violation that was picked up by these little sensors. It is only one extra reminder that curling, whereas slightly odd and complicated for informal viewers, requires a ton of ability and precision.