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Olympic tech: What's powering the Sochi 2014 Games?

From snow cannons to deep-packet network inspection and aerial drones, here's some of the gadgets and technologies powering the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games.
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1 of 10 Imgur

Dogecoin

Such coin. Very bobsled. Wow. Virtual currency may have a bit of a bad rap in some circles, but for the Jamaican Bobsleigh Team it was enough to raise funds to send the athletes to Sochi, The Guardian reports. Named after the "Doge" meme, the Bitcoin cryptocurrency spinoff was used as the primary fundraising effort to send the athletes to the winter games. By the end, the team had collected 26 million Dogecoins, equating to about $25,000 more than doubling the value of the currency in the meanwhile.

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2 of 10 Imgur

Snow cannons

Unfortunately for the Olympic athletes, the choice to hold the winter games at Sochi — one of the warmest districts in Russia — might not have thought through so well. To make sure there was enough powdery snow to go around, Russian event organizers used snow cannons to generate vast amounts of the white stuff. About 230 million gallons of water turned into about 1,000 football fields of snow, according to The New York Times

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3 of 10 Wikimedia Commons

IED blocking systems

Terrorism has remained a focal point of the games, with threats ranging from improvised explosive devices and even toothpaste bombs. Military.com reports the Russian government asked the U.S. to help with detecting and defusing any device that may be discovered. It comes just weeks after a suicide bomber attacked the Russian city of Volgograd, a mere 13-hours drive from Sochi — which by Russia's standards, really isn't far at all. 

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4 of 10 Atos via CNET

Sochi's Central technology operations center

With several Olympics in its portfolio, Atos is the big-name tech firm behind one of the largest IT infrastructures in living memory, sister site CNET reports. From providing accreditation systems to verify people are who they say they are, as well as security and network filtering to prevent malware attacks, the company is in charge of almost everything IT related. 

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5 of 10 Anna Segal/Twitter

Wi-Fi at the Olympic Village

Wi-Fi is everywhere nowadays. And no more is it so than in Sochi, with an estimate 54 Tbps of traffic flowing through its networks during the games, according to Network World. This is a massive increase from Vancouver's 2010 Winter Olympics, where the network could handle just 4 Tbps. The network, powered by Avaya, will serve 30,000 athletes, staff, and members of the media. So even if your hotel room isn't ready (and many are not), the least you can expect is a decent Wi-Fi connection.

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6 of 10 Microsoft

Windows Azure

NBC caught a lot of flak for its "live, not live" coverage of the London 2012 Olympics, but the broadcaster is hoping to be redeemed during Sochi. In efforts to offer live streaming, Adobe and Microsoft teamed up to power the streams with help from Windows Azure. The cloud platform streams live events onto almost every platform, with more than 1,000 hours of video across 15 winter sports.

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7 of 10 BMW

BMW carbon fiber bobsled

Carbon fiber may not be the most interesting of topics, but it's helping to power one of the more competitive races during the winter games. BMW USA assigned a team of engineers to work with top American bobsledders to rebuild the skeleton design from scratch, The Washington Post reports. By using the carbon-based material, often used in aerospace applications, the weight of the craft was reduced enough to create a lighter, more centralized mass. Ergonomics are also important, such as streamlining the interior, making it easier for the athletes to "jump" in from their running start.

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8 of 10 Charles Robinson/Twitter

Deep-packet inspection technologies

Controversially used by Internet providers to inspect secure traffic and prevent piracy, deep-packet inspection is being used at the Sochi Games in efforts to increase security and protect against cyberattacks and real-life events. Canadian news network CBC reports that the technology is specifically being used to filter for keywords that would read almost every email, social media message, and record the data of all phone calls — which will be sent directly to Russia's equally controversial domestic security service, the FSB.

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9 of 10 CNET/Samsung

Samsung's WOW app

Smartphone maker Samsung, not wanting to miss out (or have anyone at home for that matter) on the latest from the games, created an app that allows Galaxy phone owners to keep up-to-date with the latest breaking news and scores. The Korean electronics giant released the app in late January allowing their customers to have a customized view of the games, and get the inside track of what's going on.

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10 of 10 Skyvantage/Twitter

Aerial drones

Along with the heavy surveillance at the Sochi games, don't be too surprised if you see a drone hovering nearby. The Associated Press reported they will be used to film Olympic events rather than being used for surveillance, allowing the media to get very close to the action without distracting the athletes. That's not to say the watchful eye of Big Brother won't be looming over the event...

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