Sensor-Equipped Footballs to Make Refs More Accurate

Illustration for article titled Sensor-Equipped Footballs to Make Refs More Accurate

As everyone who's had a ref make a bad call at their team's expense knows, NFL refs aren't perfect. But footballs and gloves with built-in sensors? Those might just make coach's challenges history.

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Dr. Priya Narasimhan of Carnegie Mellon University has developed the football and gloves, loading them up with wireless sensors that can precisely determine whether or not a ball hit the ground before being caught or whether or not someone had control of the ball before fumbling. It could also, using GPS, determine whether or not the ball cross the goal line. But the applications don't stop there.

Eventually, the same kind of sensors used in the gloves could be adapted to shoes, to measure stride and running patterns, or even shoulder pads, to calculate blocking positions and force.

The current version of the glove has 15 touch sensors on the fingers and palm, running to a wireless module on the back of the arm, said Adam Goldhammer of Richboro, Bucks County, a master's student in electrical engineering at Carnegie Mellon.

"Knowing these contact points can tell how a ball is being thrown and how different people throw," he said, "so you could train how someone is throwing to match how they should throw."

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Currently, there are no teams or football organizations on board with the technology, but I wouldn't be surprised if a network got on board to help them create super-accurate animations and recreations of plays. [Post Gazette via Engadget]

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DISCUSSION

no way in hell are they going to be able to use GPS to tell if a ball crossed the goal line. it's not that accurate. even the military stuff can't tell position down to fractions of an inch, which would be the times you would want to use this technology the most.

the nfl would have to set up some sort of proprietary position mapping based on similar technology, but they'd have to set it up in each stadium individually. and even then i'm skeptical.