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Technology in Sports
The world of sport is continually changing over the years, and the use of technology is just one of those areas that has made an impact on many sports in the modern day. One criticism of the use of technology is that it can slow down the speed of the game, but on the other hand for many people it makes watching it more enjoyable to see the correct decisions being made.
Assisting the Umpires / Referees
Most professional sports in the United States have long used instant replay and other high-tech aids to help referees make the right call. Gridiron has used video replay systems to check referees' calls for many years. Basketball referees use replay systems to make sure players are shooting within the time allotted by the shot clock. In international cricket, the third umpire has been used, one sitting off the ground with access to TV replays of certain situations (such as disputed catches and boundaries) to advise the central umpires. The umpires out on the field are in communication via wireless technology with the other umpire. The third umpire is also asked to adjudicate on run out decisions, which he makes without consultation with the two central umpires. One sport that has resisted the use of high-tech assistance is soccer/football. Replays could be used to decide off-side decisions, whether a ball passes over the goal line, and clarify penalty decisions.
Soccer Goal Line Technology
There has been a need for goal line technology in soccer, particularly as TV replays are showing in retrospect wrong decisions by the referee. The International Football Association Board (IFAB) has laid down four criteria that they want to see in goal-line systems:
- The technology should only apply to goal-line decisions.
- The system must be 100 per cent accurate.
- The signal sent to the referee must be instantaneous.
- The signal is only communicated to the match officials.
A promising prospect has been a "smartball" loaded with an computer chip, jointly developed by German companies Cairos Technologies and the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits, an engineering research and software development company, along with the Adidas athletic clothing and shoe company. The companies' technology uses a network of receivers around the field designed to track the ball's precise position in real time - including exactly when it has fully passed the goal line. That information would be relayed in less than a second to a watch-like device worn by the referee. However, this system has had its setbacks, and another system using, The Hawk-Eye, is being looked at. See more about Technology and Football and Technology in AFL.
Hawk-eye is the name of a computer and camera system which traces a ball's trajectory. It is being used in international cricket and tennis, and many other sports are also looking at making use of this technology. The system is also being trialled in soccer. The Premier League of Football in the UK has agreed to the introduction of goal-line sensors after being given approval by football's rule-makers. The system being developed by the UK company Hawk-Eye, would give a definitive decision on whether the ball had crossed the line. The Hawk Eye uses a camera taking 600 frames a second on the goal-line. The information is analyzed by computer and sent to the referee's headset or a device on his wrist.
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Technology in Sports
- read the Sports Technology entries on the blog.
- poll: Should Soccer use a video referee?
- Software for Fitness and Nutrition
- Sports and Fitness Videos tagged with the term 'Technology'
- Biomechanics in Sport
- other sporting resources