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University of Tokyo's fast-tracking camera system could revolutionize sports coverage (video)

Brian Heater
June 19, 2013
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Researchers at the University of Tokyo's Ishikawa Oku Lab have been hard at work on a camera system that can track fast moving objects incredibly well, and the technology may change the way sports like baseball and soccer are televised. Recently, the team building the system has entered the next phase of testing: taking it outside, to see if will perform as well as it has in a lab setting. If all goes according to plan, they expect it'll be ready for broadcast use in roughly two years.

Demos of the tech are pretty impressive, as you can see in the video below showing the (warning: not recommended watching for those easily prone to motion sickness). To get the ping-pong ball-centric shots, the system uses a group of lenses and two small mirrors that pan, tilt and move so the camera itself doesn't have to. The mirrors rely on a speedy image tracking system that follows movement, rather than predicting it. Swapping the camera out for a projector also has some interesting applications -- it can paint digital pictures on whatever its tracking. Sounds like the perfect gadget for folks who wish their table tennis balls looked like emoji.

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