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Video: BallCam Puts Football Fans on the Field
3/5/2013

The BallCam is capable of editing out the spinning of the football and providing a usable image.   (Source: Carnegie Mellon Robotics Institute)
The BallCam is capable of editing out the spinning of the football and providing a usable image.
(Source: Carnegie Mellon Robotics Institute)

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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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Platinum
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.  =]

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.

tmash
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Iron
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

Droid
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Platinum
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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Gold
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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Iron
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.

TJ McDermott
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Blogger
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.

 

ChasChas
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Platinum
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.

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