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Wi-Fi is big hit for Tae Kwon Do

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Boffins at Stanford are taking Wi-Fi to Tae Kwon Do, with a system to measure the force of the blows opponents land on each other.

Wireless sensors are implanted in the fighting gear worn by compeititors. According to BBC Online, the sensors work by converting the force from a punch or kick into an electrical signal. This data is used to work out if a blow was hard enough and accurate enough to count as a point.

The team at Stanford is not suggesting replacing the judges who, by tradition, would make the call. Dr Ed Chi told BBC Online that the technology could act as an additional judge, and one without any preconceptions.

"Currently there is an inherent bias against punches as a scoring implement as most judges do not believe that punches deliver the same amount of force as a kick. With our system, we are able to establish how much force the punch was able to deliver."

In the event of a split decision, relying on the sensors would be highly controversial, he said.

Tae Kwon Do originated in Korea, supposedly more than 2000 years ago. It is now officially practised in 120 countries, by more than 20 million people. ®

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