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Latest Technologies Used For Making Accurate Decisions In Sports

Nowadays technologies have their own important niche in the field of sports. Each day they help referees take the most accurate decisions and viewers around the world to analyze various situations of a game they watch on television or online. Here are some of the most important technologies used to help referees and viewers.
Hawk Eye
This is currently one of the most popular technologies used in the world of sports. It allows tracking the trajectory of the ball, thus helping take correct decisions. The technology is widely used in cricket and tennis and is expected to be used in soccer in 2012, with the starting point being Barclays Premier League.
In tennis the Hawk Eye offers computerized illustrations of the arc of a bouncing ball and identifies the exact position of the ball when it hits the ground, helping the umpire and line judges identify the winner of the point.
It would be interesting to note that the system engages 4 high-speed cameras that take images at different angles around the tennis court and triangulates the location, speed and direction of the ball using the data collected from each cam.
This year FIFA allowed the system to be used to identify “goal” or “no goal” situations. The decision was made after the 2010 World Cup, when millions of England fans witnessed Frank Lampard mark a goal in the match against Germany but the referee did not validate it.
Radar Gun
This technology is also used in tennis. Its goal is to inform viewers about the speed of a player’s serve. Although it does not help in taking decisions, it is an interesting source of information for everyone watching a game of tennis, including journalists and those registering World records.
The radars are usually located behind baselines and function on the principle of the Doppler effect, i.e. the faster the tennis ball is going away from the sensor, the more extensive the waves bouncing off the ball will be when they come back.
For a better understanding: when the car approaches you at a high speed you hear the level of noise rising and when it passed you the noise slowly fades away. The same phenomenon was used by astronomers when they came up with the conclusion that our universe is expanding.
Net-Cord Sensor
The net-cord sensor is not a very complicated technology – it simply translates vibrations into electric power.
It represents a piezoelectric device that makes use of the same technology as a speaker or microphone.
Used in tennis, the gadget is attached to the net in order to signal when a ball has hit the net during a serve. It helps the referee take a decision of whether to call a serve or not.
Here’s how it works: when the ball hits the net it generates vibrations that are detected by the sensor and the latter produces a sound signal.
Computer-Generated Line
This technology is used mainly in football, baseball and soccer. It represents a computer-generated virtual stripe that is projected onto the field and seen only by the TV audience. The line helps viewers get a better understanding on what happened on the field.
In football the virtual line is called the Yellow First Down line and it shows the exact position that the offense must reach for a first down.
The technology is rather complex – in order to project the line it is required to have several cameras, computers and technicians.
In soccer the virtual line allows viewers to see whether a player was in offside position or not. Unfortunately the line cannot influence the decision of the referee and is just there for the TV viewer.
Instant replay
This technology allows replaying of video footage of a certain event or incident in extremely short time, thus helping judges make important decisions. It is used in live television broadcasting of sports events to show a part of game which was important or notable, or a play that was somewhat unclear on first sight.
A number of sports organizations gave permission to referees to consult replay footage prior to making a decision regarding a dubious play. Such consulting has several name: video referee, video umpire, instant replay official and others.
It would be worth noting that not all sports allow consulting instant video replays. The use of this technology has turned into a debate among the officials and sports fans of soccer, with the officials refusing to make use of it as it could have serious impact on the specific aspects of associated football. However, instant replay is sometimes used for taking disciplinary decisions. The technology is officially used in football, basketball, field hockey, baseball, cricket and more.

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