Monday, February 22, 2010

APIDIS Automated Film Crew Could Produce the Perfect Sports Coverage [Sports]


At the end of many sport games, the commentators inevitably give shouts outs to the camera crew, who wave back with toothy smiles. It's a touching, simple "thank you" for covering the game. Sadly, these poor saps are all doomed.

Now, I don't know when the end will come for these unfortunate souls, but I do know what the beginning of the end is called: APIDIS. That's Autonomous Production of Images based on Distributed and Intelligent Sensing to people who enjoy spelling things out, and what it boils down to is a system that combines video streams from several cameras into a kind of "smart" coverage that has little room or tolerance for the inevitable mistakes of carbon-based meat sacks.

Unlike single-minded humans, APIDIS tracks the ball and players simultaneously, using a network of connected cameras. With this network, the system calculates which angle captures the most detail, and displays it to the viewer accordingly.

Even crazier (and the reason why it will truly take off), is a feature that allows coverage to be customized to a user's viewing preferences. Perhaps you're Chelsea captain John Terry's wife, for example, and you want to keep an eye on him for the entire Premiership match against Everton, just in case he tries to have an affair with one of the other player's girlfriends. You can totally do that! Someone already has!

Well, not with John Terry. The match that APIDIS was given custom instructions to cover was a basketball game, so chosen because of that sport's faster pace. It worked, and ESPN is reportedly looking into APIDIS with more than just a passing interest. [New Scientist]