The Olympics showcase the height of athletic prowess, so it only makes sense that they would also show off just how impressive technology can get when it's applied to sports.
Forget the multi-million dollar training facilities -- athletes are now putting the best of tech and science combined right on their bodies, often during the competitions themselves.
Based on creating the most aerodynamic equipment possible, or manipulating bodies into the absolute perfect form, these innovations trickle down to the public eventually, as with Speedo's LZR Racer swimsuit (now banned from the Olympics, but available to consumers).
While certain technologies remain controversial or even suspect -- the Japanese-invented kinesio tape that's been featured widely on everyone from volleyball players to divers is currently under the microscope for its muscle-strengthening claims -- they're always incredibly interesting to check.
SEE: 10 technological innovations being used at the London 2012 Olympic Games:
The most decorated Olympian in history has <a href="http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-57466128-1/michael-phelps-snoozes-in-high-tech-compression-jammies/" target="_hplink">some special jammies for sleeping, according to CNET</a>. The <a href="http://www.underarmour.com/shop/us/en/mens-recharge-energy-suit/pid1207677" target="_hplink">Recharge Energy Suit from Under Armour</a> apparently pushes out the water in your muscles that make them sore overnight, thereby allowing for quicker healing (and obviously, medal-winning performances).
According to PSFK, <a href="http://www.psfk.com/2012/07/athletes-use-technology-to-win-gold.html#ixzz22IcnWCWp" target="_hplink">hurdler Lolo Jones has been using 40 Vicon T40S motion-capture cameras</a> to record the movements coming from 39 reflective motion detection sensors on her body in order to best analyze where she's going to right -- and wrong. Using this, she was able to find out her left leg was slightly slower than her right, and correct it.
Similarly to Jones, British rhythmic gymnast Mimi Cesar has her own 'vibrating suit' made by MotivePro which indicates when her body is moving in the right way. According to Ubergizmo.com, <a href="http://www.ubergizmo.com/2012/05/motivepro-suit-trains-olympic-athletes-to-perfect-their-routines/" target="_hplink">it was originally created in order to help ballet dancers</a>, and has a natural application for the Olympics.
Brightly coloured and a fun addition to the Olympic uniforms, kinesio tape has been getting plenty of attention. Whether made in Japan or <a href="http://www.thestar.com/business/article/1235096--london-2012-canadian-made-adhesive-holds-olympians-and-weekend-warriors-together" target="_hplink">Canada</a>, there is currently <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/08/01/us-oly-science-tape-day-idUSBRE86U0ZN20120801" target="_hplink">some debate about whether this tape provides the muscle support to which it lays claim</a>. But there's no denying this -- China's gold medal diver Minxia Wu wore golden coloured tape for her win.
Cryogenic chambers sound like science fiction, but they're actually pretty commonly used by athletes. While most Olympians don't seem to talk much about using them, <a href="http://www.news.com.au/sport/london-olympics/olympic-champ-usain-bolt/story-fndpu6dv-1226422352363" target="_hplink">Jamaica's Usain Bolt (shown here) was apparently considering trying one out for his back injury</a>.
Golf-Ball Track Suits
The U.S. (and Russian, German and Chinese) track teams' suits (U.S. sprinter Allyson Felix is shown here) have received a ton of attention, and it's no surprise. The 'golf ball' inspiration for this Turbospeed uniform by Nike includes <a href="http://www.fastcodesign.com/1669741/inspired-by-golf-balls-nikes-bumpy-tracksuit-may-help-sprinters-break-records#1" target="_hplink">bumps all along it to reduce drag on athletes' shoulders, calves and arms</a>, according to Fast Company.
With all the falls occurring around equestrian events, this addition to the Games is likely more than welcome -- athletes are wearing safety vests that inflate like airbags when a rider is thrown. According to the Telegraph, <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/olympics/9430061/London-2012-Olympics-how-technology-is-aiding-Team-GB.html" target="_hplink">these devices are composed of a canister of C02 gas</a> attached to the saddle, which is "triggered at a pressure of 84lb when horse and rider part company."
Canadian bike brand Cervélo created the P5 bike, ridden by Ryder Hesjedal during his winning Giro ride as well as at the Olympics, using wind tunnels and software. The difference between it and other bikes? It's called the '<a href="http://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2012-06/engineers-master-bicycle-aerodynamics-cerv%C3%A9lo-p5" target="_hplink">most aerodynamic bike ever' by Popsci.com</a>, thanks to its lowered handlebars, internal brake cables and tapered seat.
For the much-medalled sailing team of Great Britain, nano-coating is hoping to the make the difference this year. The material, usually used by soldiers, repels water but lets air through -- according to PTC.com,<a href="http://blogs.ptc.com/2012/07/26/london-olympic-games-top-6-tech-innovations/" target="_hplink"> mud and water have been shown to slow times by up to 15 seconds</a>.
Ping Pong-Playing Robots
This video pretty well speaks for itself, but if you've ever wondered why China is so great at ping pong, just know that one of the country's universities created actual robots to compete. Amazing, terrifyingly good robots.