The roar of the engines is deafening. Directly in front of me, I’ve got the No. 1 car, more than 3,000 pounds of hot steel, locked in my sights. I’m right on my rival driver’s rear bumper, a supermodel-thin distance between us as my 760-horsepower Chevy bears down at 184 mph. As we go into the last turn, No. 1 offers the tiniest of openings to the inside. I go low for the pass, giving my ride everything it’s got left to pull ahead in the final straightaway . . .
And there’s the checkered flag! The No. 8 car wins the 2017 Daytona 500! Or, more accurately, I win. I inched past the real lead car and crossed the finish line first, but with a digitally rendered Chevy I drove from my couch while playing along with the race in real time on my PlayStation 5. I just flip on the TV, and instantly I can see any spot on the track from any angle I choose, get an update on my fantasy racing league on the screen, and play Nascar '17 against actual Sprint Cup drivers during a live race.
Within 10 years, this won’t sound any more far-fetched than the first-down line superimposed on a football field. In fact, it’s the natural extension of that technology, and it will come from the same small company: Sportvision, a broadcasting-technology firm in Chicago that has developed a whole host of familiar technologies, from a graphic showing a curveball’s entire flight to home plate (plotted to an accuracy of half an inch), to that now-indispensable first-down line, a digitally generated marker that looks as natural as if it were painted on the field.single page
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.