Friday, July 07, 2006

France v Italy final: Wat no smartball technology?

It is only a matter of time before the match ball incorporates smart technology but adidas confirmed last year it would not be introduced at FIFA World Cup Germany 2006 . After tests late last year in a Peruvian tournament FIFA announced the system was not yet ready for use yet, but the chances are it will be at FIFA World Cup South Africa 2010, in four years hence. The technology is based on an application-specific integrated circuit chip (ASIC) with a transmitter to send data. The chip is suspended in the middle of the ball to survive acceleration and hard kicks. The technology uses a network of receivers around the field designed to track the ball's precise position in real time including exactly when the ball passes over the pitch lines. Ball position is conveyed by radio signals to the referee’s watch in less than a second after the ball crosses the goal line. Similar chips, but smaller and flatter, have been designed for players’ shin guards. The system is independent of weather influences and can not be distracted by other wireless systems. The principles can also be applied in different situations: sport applications such as grid iron, soccer, basketball or ice hockey, but the system can also perform in an industrial environment such as the security of airports and flight gates, in large docks, in military operations and in many more situations. At present however the system has several problems including when the ball is shot over the goal and lands on the net it registers as a goal. Information can take several seconds to reach referee and when more than one ball is on the field the system will crash. The decision to focus on the further development and testing before introducing it to top range competition was taken in consultation with FIFA, and in close cooperation with development partner Cairos Technologies AG in Karlsbad, Germany. adidas started its production of footballs in 1963 and has been responsible for some of the most notable innovations. The Telstar ball design consisted of 12 pentagons and 20 hexagons. adidas were the first to incorporate synthetic materials into footballs and launched coloured balls an thermal bonding technology into ball manufacture. adidas has supplied the Official Match Balls to all major UEFA and FIFA tournaments since 1970 and will also be the Official Partner and Supplier of the Match Ball for the 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cup™. Cairos Technologies AG is privately owned and is the leader in the sector of highly accurate, high-resolution 3-D localization of dynamic objects. Cairos AG is the exclusive worldwide distributor for the Cairos system in sports and in the industry. In 2001 Cairos started its cooperation with the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits, an engineering research and software development company in Erlangen, Germany.

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