The scientific secrets behind Team GB

We're sitting amid a futuristic display of robots in probably the best technology university in the country. But we're talking about humans - all too frail, all to susceptible, all too human. And specifically what science and technology can do to help British athletes in the London Olympics.

"How many medals is science going to win for us?" I ask. Scott Drawer chuckles and tells me science can only increase "the probability" of winning medals. And he should know because he's the head of science and innovation for UK Sport.

In the days before this interview I've been looking at how science and technology can help. Perhaps most impressive is an amazing piece of technology. Its a huge tank 270 metres long and 12 metres wide in a hanger in Gosport run by QinetiQ. It used to be a top-secret test bed for designing the hulls of military ships and submarines. But it's also idea for canoers to train.

What they want is what they call "zero conditions". No wind, no rain, no currents, no temperature changes. And that's what this tank gives them. It's as flat as a mill pond and kept between 12 and 14 degrees Celsius. When they change their technique slightly they want to know if it improves their times. And if they're training in this tank, they know that their times reflect their performance and not the weather. An improved time is real not a freak.

Olympic technology and how it is helping Team GB

Jon Schofield, who's going for the Olympic 200 metre sprint with his partner Liam Heath, tells us even fractions of a second counts. They were 5 hundredths of a second behind the winners in the World Championships and came third. Improving their performance by 6 hundredths could bring Gold.

And Louise Hazel, Commonwealth Heptathlete Champion and competitor in London, tells me the same story. She uses video motion analysis (courtesy of her sponsor Panasonic) to improve her performance. For example, she and her coach thought she wasn't aggressive enough approaching the first barrier in the 100 metres hurdles.

So they decided to move her starting blocks back by two or three inches. She set a Personal Best time.

Of course, Scott is right. Science can't guarantee medals. It can make the difference between silver and gold. But you also just have to have talent.