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Video: BallCam Puts Football Fans on the Field

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Elizabeth M
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Another view of the game
Elizabeth M   3/5/2013 6:43:37 AM
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As if football fans need even another view of the game with all the different angles available to them already! Still, this is pretty cool. I'm personally not a football fan but I can see how it would be helpful during training and perhaps eventually something that could give fans another view of play. It certainly would be quite interesting to watch what happens to the ball during a game, given that it's the central focus! What will they think of next?

williamlweaver
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Re: Another view of the game
williamlweaver   3/5/2013 9:01:26 AM
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I always get the feeling that football game broadcast technology, such as the VR line markers on the field and Skycam footage, is pushed by Video Game visualizations such as EA Sports Madden NFL. I suggest these kids at CMU would do themselves a favor if they talked up their colleagues in Video Game development and had the BallCam coded into Madden NFL 2014.  Instant demand.  =]

marty48
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Put a camera in both ends...
marty48   3/6/2013 9:14:36 PM
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... so the quarterback doesn't need to be a cameraman.

Elizabeth M
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Re: Put a camera in both ends...
Elizabeth M   3/7/2013 4:37:24 AM
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It just occurred to me...wouldn't having a camera in the ball now take replays to an entirely new level?? You could really see what's going on. This could open up a new can of worms (and makes football games drag on even longer! Sorry, not a fan!)

Charles Murray
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Re: Put a camera in both ends...
Charles Murray   3/7/2013 6:03:50 PM
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Actually, the technology's developer told me that it could be used for replays, but only after a few minutes of waiting. I don't know if impatient football fans will tolerate that. So you don't have to worry, Liz.

Elizabeth M
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Re: Put a camera in both ends...
Elizabeth M   3/11/2013 5:17:52 AM
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Ah, ok, Chuck, good to know that this will probably not be applicable for replays. That shows you how much I know about football!

apresher
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BallCam
apresher   3/5/2013 9:06:58 AM
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Interesting article. I would really be excited about this possibility except that the NFL already has those video cameras on the wires over the field.  That technology provides some great views of the action, and I wish basketball venues would go that way as well.  The BallCam does offer a chance for close-up action that is unprecedented, although getting the design win could be a bit of a challenge.

Jack Rupert, PE
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Re: BallCam
Jack Rupert, PE   3/22/2013 5:16:35 PM
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I think the biggest challenge is not the technical one, but the one of actually getting it into the game.  I saw a TV program a bit ago about inventors.  One of the guys had a laser system to replace or enhance the measurement chains.  He had already gone to the NFL.  They had given him a list of reasons why they weren't accepting it. On this episode, he had made the necessary changes and the show hooked him up again with their NFL contacts.  He had this thing working in fog and snow and they still had no use for it.  Something actually going inside the ball seems to have a lesser chance, even with proofs that it doesn't change the dynamics.

Charles Murray
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Re: BallCam
Charles Murray   3/22/2013 6:09:02 PM
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I'm sure you're right, Jack. The chances of this making it into a game are probably very slim. I think that commenter bobjengr got it right when he said this is about software that converts a chaotic video into a watchable one. Now the trick will be to figure out where else that capability can be put to use.

tmash
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Not...
tmash   3/5/2013 1:09:50 PM
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As an application for use in training , coaching or match analysis to resolve desputes when they arise yes!!......outside those domains....... i see no future.

Cabe Atwell
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Re: Not...
Cabe Atwell   3/5/2013 3:17:14 PM
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Very clever. But they better increase that frame rate capture. The result video looks choppy when stabilized.

 

C

bobjengr
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Re: Not...
bobjengr   3/9/2013 2:17:26 PM
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  I agree with you tmash on this one.  I can possibly see some use for officiating and coaching players but not much application for the fans.  Instant replay, at lest for me, gives me enough information relative to the game.  It is fascinating to witness how the software transforms the video.   This is the only way I can see real value-added to a game.

 

Charles Murray
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Re: Not...
Charles Murray   3/12/2013 8:44:31 PM
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Good point, bonjengr. The real value in this technology is the way the software transforms a chaotic video into a watchable one.

Droid
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Reposition and downsize the camera
Droid   3/6/2013 9:55:06 AM
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the camera they used seems enormous; especially considering the size of smartphone or eyewear cams.  

Not sure why they mounted it on the side of the football.  Seems to me it would be much better to have a cam mounted on each end - hidden in the point of the ball.  Plus it would be easier to mantain the key physical characteristics of the ball.

Perhaps with the right positional sensors and algorithms, you could "unspin" the spin to view smooth tragectories toward and away from the quarterback.

Nugent_56
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Re: Reposition and downsize the camera
Nugent_56   3/6/2013 10:06:16 AM
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I agree, placing the camera at the end of the ball would create a better view and allow the ball to be better balanced. Then you could process the video in real-time using gyro and accelerometer data to keep the picture rotated level to the ground plane - hence smoother video without the dropped frames.  Having cameras at both ends allows the ball to be thrown either direction plus adds further weight symmetry.

bkcTN
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video capture rate is more than adequate for moving forward
bkcTN   3/6/2013 10:58:29 AM
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It would be interesting to know the capture rate of the camera used.  At 30 fps, the ball would be rotating about 90 to 120 degrees per frame capture, depending on the speed of the spiral.  That would mean that of the 4 to 5 frames taken per revolution, only 1 or 2 of them would be pointed in a direction where they would provide usable data to be stitched together.  That would probably leave an effective fps of between 7.5 to 15, definitely choppy compared to what we expect from our NFL broadcasts.  However, increasing the frame rate to 120 fps, while it would certainly provide more usable frame captures per revolution, the amount of data would be greatly increased.

Just supposing that there probably is a sweet spot based on the present technology.  My opinion is that the video quality is certainly good enough for now to determine what, if any, uses this might have in the future.  Details about camera placement and fps will work themselves out, depending on the future demand for the product.

I would suspect that you wouldn't find many players throwing these balls into the stands anymore.

Ryder
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Re: video capture rate is more than adequate for moving forward
Ryder   3/6/2013 2:02:08 PM
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The Hero3 does 120 fps already... in 720p... a very cheap consumer level solution.

You could EASILY double or triple that framerate for a commercial application.
It could probably stitch the data inside the ball in real time, and transmit LIVE for that matter... it might even calculate "tweens" on the fly and insert that into the datastream.

 

 

Dave Palmer
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Re: video capture rate is more than adequate for moving forward
Dave Palmer   3/6/2013 2:04:26 PM
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@bkcTN: According to the article, the capture rate is 60 fps.  This would give a useable frame rate of about 15 - 30 fps.  It wouldn't take too much to bring it up to 24 fps for television.

I wonder how robust the "sky-detecting" algorithm is.  I'm guessing it wouldn't work very well during Bears-Packers games in the snow.

Charles Murray
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Re: video capture rate is more than adequate for moving forward
Charles Murray   3/6/2013 9:57:56 PM
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I also wonder how good the sky-detecting algorithm would be at night, Dave.

TJ McDermott
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Cameras in other rotating objects
TJ McDermott   3/6/2013 11:23:00 AM
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The army put cameras in artillery shells.  The articles I saw for that sort of application were a bit dated; they talked of very slow frame rates.

 

Pubudu
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Re: Cameras in other rotating objects
Pubudu   3/6/2013 12:18:08 PM
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Interesting article Charls

But I cannot identify, or think about the practical application for these. Or is it only for fun.

Ryder
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Silver
Re: Cameras in other rotating objects
Ryder   3/6/2013 1:55:01 PM
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As there is no "practical application" for the entire sport of football, then it's probably the perfect fit :)  Practical application is not necessary in any multi-billion dollar industry that has no practical basis in the first place.

 

But for any circumstance where uncontrolled changes of orientation occur, all this really is about is image stabilization, and in that sense, image stabilization is a significant issue already.


It's now standard in most video cameras.


But let's say that you had a tumbling spacecraft approaching a planet surface.  You could spend millions stabilizing the craft... or you could simply let it tumble.  If you wanted to image the surface on the way down and perhaps make a terrain map for later exploration... a fast camera and some software is a much cheaper and lighter way to go.

A camera in a bullet might allow the bullet be visually guided.

Anti-tank bombs that spin for stability could use it for visual targeting.

Remotely operated flying vehicles that don't require a stable body become practical (imagine rotors fixed to a cylindrical payload... no bearings or rotation)

etc. etc...

 

 

 

bkcTN
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Re: Cameras in other rotating objects
bkcTN   3/6/2013 2:43:56 PM
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Well, while we are talking practical applications in unecessary events such as sports, why in the world do we not use technology to accurately and consistently call strikes in baseball?  Obviously, that technology has existed for decades and hasn't been used either.  And, yet we have "instant" replay in football?

And, I apologize for not getting down to the part that contained the 60 fps.  I think I saw the video and the bright, shiny video caught my eye.

robatnorcross
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Gold
Re: Cameras in other rotating objects
robatnorcross   3/6/2013 4:31:33 PM
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The main reason I LIKE soccer and DESPISE baseball, football, basketball is the continuous replays, standing around of the players, talking (yelling) of the coaches, measuring the lines, etc. that manage to turn a 15 minute game into a 2 hours of mind numbing boredome.

Now they will have even more things to replays (from the in-ball camera) to show us to make the game even more boring.

I can only pray that NO govt. money was spent developing this.

Charles Murray
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Re: Cameras in other rotating objects
Charles Murray   3/6/2013 9:55:56 PM
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You're right, bkcTN. The technology for calling balls and strikes is available right now. Baseball is a little more stodgy about change, though. It would probably take an act of Congress to get the MLB to make that kind of change.

Rocketplumber
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Re: Cameras in other rotating objects
Rocketplumber   3/6/2013 4:58:05 PM
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Yes, an unstable landing can return interesting video, provided the camera is tough. Armadillo Aerospace provided a great example:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BNuCiFGU0jM

ChasChas
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strange
ChasChas   3/6/2013 12:02:44 PM
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While watching football, it never occurred to me that I would like to be the ball. Takes all kinds, I guess.

William K.
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Ballcam and the kickoff.
William K.   3/6/2013 9:29:32 PM
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Can you immagine the impact from watching the kickers foot come at the ball at the kickoff, or for the extra point?Suddenly this huge foot approaches and then WHAM! Probably a few couch potato injuries from that image.

Charles Murray
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Re: Ballcam and the kickoff.
Charles Murray   3/6/2013 9:53:00 PM
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Another intersting thing about kickoffs, William K, is that the researchers said they would need two cameras inside the ball instead of one. Evidently, the end-over-end motion of a kickoff is too much for one camera to handle.

apresher
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BallCam
apresher   3/7/2013 8:10:23 PM
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Don't think this is remotely appropriate for replay but only if the angle is really very unique. Waiting becomes even more of a deal breaker.

William K.
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BallCam
William K.   3/7/2013 10:16:40 PM
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All of the MANY delays in televised football are why I think that High School football games are a much better value. No delays for hardly anything. Plus, the players are not such "Prima Donnas" as a few of the bigleague stars are. And most seats are closer to the action. You don't get to actually see the players faces at any NFL games. Way to far of.

Charles Murray
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Re: BallCam
Charles Murray   3/8/2013 7:07:12 PM
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I couldn't agree more, William K. I do admit to watching the Super Bowl every year, but I find high school football far more interesting. I live across the street from a high school football field, and every Friday night in fall I am drawn toward the lights like a moth.  

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