Further Advancements and The Promise of Perfection

by / Saturday, 16 April 2016 / Published in Technology

The way technology has improved over the past decade has changed the way we look at sports. It has also given a new angle and a new dimension to our viewership of the greatest plays in the world. Every sport involves decision making on part of a supervising authority, be it a referee or an umpire, who decides solely on the basis of what he saw. Sometimes, the vision can be misleading, switching off for a split second can change one’s perception regarding an occurring completely. Smallest errors can cause biggest mistakes and most often it is the verdict of man the forms the thin between victory and defeat.

The advent of cameras and television has massively increased the number of people watching a particular sport. People sitting at home far away from the center can witness the action live. But what TV additionally did was to show the world if a decision was right or wrong. Replays changed everything. Even when sportsmen would watch their matches they’d wonder how different the result could be had the adjudication been right. With due passage of time, simple replays were inducted to rectify big mistakes. The first such incidence was in 1992 when replays were adopted as part of the game to judge ‘run-outs’ in cricket. Now replays are part of decision making aid in many kinds of games including Hockey, Rugby and Badminton.

The Hawk-Eye

As the technology continued to improve in every field, the advancement in camera electronics also kept pace. In 2001, the Hawk-Eye was developed by Dr. Paul Hawkins in UK. Using a set of six cameras and a meticulous triangulation technique the trajectory of the ball is detected. Tennis is one sport which requires a huge amount of adjudication. Each line on the court is governed by a separate umpire, yet game changing mistakes cannot be eliminated. Thus in 2006 the Hawk-Eye was introduced in tennis to challenge the umpire’s line calls. Also in cricket, since 2009, Hawk-Eye is an on and off part of a controversial decision referral system. Now even in football since 2013, it has been implemented to automatically decide whether a ball has crossed the line or not.

Toying with the spirit of the game

With the inclusion of technology in sports an outright part of most sports these days, there is a growing debate regarding the role of umpires in the game. Many people are of the view that human instincts have been driven aside by technology. Games which previously had no machine intervention are now stopped for a period of time to reach the right conclusion. Referees and umpires have somewhat lost their respect as the players are free to challenge their calls.
With technology improving day by day, the future of decision making in sports seems bright. Be it touch sensors, sound sensors or even substantial inroads in the field of imaging, the technology is set to play a large helping hand in sports. Apart from decision making, technology as a part of Bio-mechanics has also played its part in helping players with recuperating from injuries and monitoring their body movements.