Sports-oriented tech startups handed much-needed funding for innovation | Daily Sabah – Daily Sabah

Backed by the top public institutions, a major event in Istanbul this week saw awards being granted to entrepreneurs as part of cooperation aimed at encouraging innovation in all areas related to sports.

Organized as part of a protocol signed by the Youth and Sports Ministry and Industry and Technology Ministry to promote scientific research, entrepreneurship and scientific awareness among youth, the Individual Young Entrepreneur (BIGG) Sports Awards ceremony saw startups with the best sports-oriented technology projects being extended total financial support of TL 1 million (about $53,000).

Addressing the event, Youth and Sports Minister Muharrem Kasapoğlu emphasized the importance of innovation in sports technology.

“Just as in all other areas, we must attach special importance to our technology-based ventures and domestic production in sports,” Kasapoğlu said.

For his part, Industry and Technology Minister Mustafa Varank announced they would soon be launching a new initiative for sports technologies within the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Türkiye’s (TÜBITAK) BIGG Sports program.

Varank also suggested that the top limit of the support in the next edition of the program be increased to TL 450,000 and for the amount extended to the winning enterprises to be lifted to TL 300,000, up from TL 200,000, a call that was backed by Kasapoğlu.

7 categories and 84 startups

The competition saw 84 technology startups apply for categories that included augmented and virtual reality applications in sports technology, artificial intelligence applications in sports, wearable technologies in sports, individual and team follow-systems analysis, training, rehabilitation and health technologies in sports, nationalization of imported sports equipment, and artificial limb/prosthetic technologies in sports.

Also addressing the ceremony, Hasan Mandal, head of TÜBITAK, said: “Through the BIGG Sports Awards Competition, we aim to develop innovative approaches in all areas related to sports, support technological initiatives and increase awareness of sports technologies.”

Inspired by national athlete

One of the award-winning companies, Filament Technology, developed a carbon fiber-reinforced composite prosthetic foot for short-distance runners, which was inspired by the national athlete Nurullah Kart’s expensive purchase of a similar product from abroad.

“We started with the idea of developing and producing personal and more affordable prosthetic feet in Türkiye in shorter timeframes. We are a company established with the support of TÜBITAK,” the company’s director, Mert Tezkan, said.

Olympic champ’s domestic bow

Recep Demirkan, the manager of Navek Sportif, which produced the domestic bow used by Olympic Champion archer Mete Gazoz, said: “The bow used by Mete Gazoz at the Olympics was a project supported by KOSGEB and we built on that project. It is a project that has achieved various successes in European, world and Turkish championships.”

“I am also a former national athlete. We started this business due to the difficulties we were facing, and our team is our national team, we are a team of about 45 people. We cannot describe the pride of this,” Demirkan noted.

Statistical solution for golfers

Ayşe Yılmaz from Rapsodo Yazılım, which received an award for “Mobile Shot Tracking Technology for Golf Game,” said they implemented the project to improve golfers’ practical abilities.

“In the mobile application, the data from the device is calculated and the location where the ball would fall in the real world is displayed on the map and video. So the player can see their own shot statistics. Therefore, they can identify their weak points and practice more on them,” said Yiğit Sevin from the same company.

Tech for football players

Sensiball VR developed a technology that allows the testing of football players’ cognitive skills and provides training recommendations based on the player’s weaknesses in the virtual environment.

“We have a patented technology that has the potential to make us a pioneering company in the world. This technology also allows the football player to feel the point that the ball touches in a virtual environment with haptic feedback. In this context, we can test football players’ cognitive, technical, and neuropsychological skills and provide appropriate training recommendations using the scientific scenarios we have developed,” a member of the company, Ali Onur Cerrah, said.

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