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Issue 4 - October 2000

A whole new ball game

A whole new ball game STATISTICAL and graphical information produced by a new innovation called Hawk-Eye is set to boost the public's understanding of cricket.

From next season, cricket commentators could be using the technology created by Siemens developers at Roke Manor Research, which accurately tracks a ball from the bowler's hand to the batsman with 5mm accuracy in under two seconds.

Engineers claim Hawk-Eye can also predict the future flight path of the ball, and have developed image-processing techniques that will analyse a series of video images from cameras at selected positions around the pitch.

The potential of the device to predict whether the ball would have hit the stumps could serve to end debates over an umpire's leg before wicket (LBW) decision.

The production company which handles Channel 4's coverage of the sport has said it will look to incorporate Hawk-Eye next season.

The wealth of statistical information that it provides will help cricket commentators provide in-depth visual and verbal analysis of the game.

It will, for example, enable a TV commentator to graphically illustrate the correlation between the condition of the wicket (and areas of rough) and the degree of bounce as a game progresses.

The information Hawk-Eye produces enables a virtual replay to be produced from any angle to appear as if the camera follows the flight of the ball.

Julia Waters, Innovations Director at Roke Manor Research said: "We believe that Hawk-Eye's ability to visualise a commentator's explanation of the game will be an effective way to simplify the explanation of complex elements of cricket."


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Whole New Ball Game

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