WJTV News Channel 12 - NC State researchers help created 3D football tracking system

NC State researchers help created 3D football tracking system

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The ball could be tracked in heavy snow, goal line pile ups, or the position of the ball’s forward progress. The ball could be tracked in heavy snow, goal line pile ups, or the position of the ball’s forward progress.
RALEIGH, N.C. -

Researchers from North Carolina State University helped create a new 3D system to track the location of a football during a game.

N.C. State and Carnegie Mellon University researchers, with help from Disney Research, use low frequency magnetic fields to track a ball fitted with a transmitter in situations where it is blocked from view. The ball could be tracked in heavy snow, goal line pile ups, or the position of the ball’s forward progress, N.C. State University said in a release.

Earlier attempts at creating tracking technology failed due to researchers using high radio frequency waves. These waves would be absorbed by players resulting incorrect data, the University said.

“But low frequency magnetic fields don’t interact very strongly with the human body, so they are not affected by the players on the field or the stadium environment,” says Dr. David Ricketts, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at N.C. State and senior author of a paper describing the research. “This is part of what makes our new approach effective.

The weight of the built-in transmitter still allows the ball to be “within the standard deviation of accepted professional football weights.”

Researchers used “complex image theory” to deal with the earth absorbing the low frequency waves.

“We realized that we could use a technique developed in the 1960s called complex image theory,” says Dr. Darmindra Arumugam, lead author of the paper and a former Ph.D. student at Carnegie Mellon now at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “Complex image theory allows us to account for the secondary fields generated by the earth and compensate for them in our model.”

Researchers said the system is still being fine-tuned with their goal being to be able to locate the ball down to half the length of a football.

Copyright 2014 WNCN. All rights reserved.

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