World Cricket Pumps Up with Fair Play Technology

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The ICC World Cup is set to begin tomorrow and the Adelaide Oval is ready to blaze with India playing against Pakistan on Sunday – a much-awaited, highly electrifying match. Every howzzat, every LBW appeal and every missed catch finds all eyes on the umpires with an admixture of hope and accusation.

Remember the 2011 India-Pakistan semi-final match when Sachin played the winning knock? And remember that it was technology that proved Sachin’s winning stroke and led India to its rightful victory? From Stump cam to Spider cam, Hawkeye to Hotspot, cricket and technology have become much integrated, doing away with human error to a large extent and taking matches to justified endings.

Cricket’s patenting business

Every time there is an LBW appeal, the television screen flashes with the Hawkeye animation that depicts the trajectory of the ball. But did you know that this extremely popular and widely used technology is well protected by a patent? Yes, that’s true.

Patent WO2001041884 titled “Video Processor Systems for Ball Tracking in Ball Games” describes a method to determine the trajectory of a moving cricket ball after hitting the surface. And this is just one of several patents filed on similar lines.

Source: WO2001041884 & www. espncricinfo.com

Source: WO2001041884 & www.espncricinfo.com

Snicko (Snickometer) is another popular technology in cricket to detect the edge between the ball and bat. Snicko was invented by Allan Plaskett in the mid 1990’s and was patented in 1998. Patent WO2000010333 describes a method to analyze a sequence of events occurring during a cricket match. Snicko is then used to graphically analyze sound and video to detect an extremely fine noise or snick when the ball passes the bat. This technology has played an extremely important role in determining a batsman’s stay on the pitch during a match.

Source: WO2000010333

Source: Patent WO 2000010333

And while Plaskett’s invention benefited the outcome of several matches, there was much scope for improvement. The shortcomings of Snicko were overcome in a bettered version called the Hotspot that was developed and patented by Warren Brennan of BBG Sports. His patent WO2007098537 describes a method to detect contacts during sporting activities with the help of digital cameras.

How does Hotspot find the hot spot?

Two powerful thermal-imaging cameras are positioned behind the bowler’s arm at either ends of a ground. They are capable of remotely sensing and measuring minute amounts of heat generated by the impact of a cricket ball against another object. The technology helps create a negative image on which the point of contact between the ball and the bat is highlighted as a red friction. What’s more, Hotspot not only records the impact between the ball and other objects, but also marks the bat’s contact with the batsman’s pad or the ground.

Source: Patent WO 2007098537

Source: Patent WO 2007098537

And while India Bleeds Blue for the Men in Blue through this season of nail biting excitement and enthusiasm, patented technologies will continue to add fairplay value to the game.

(Featured image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/27264136@N05/2986497600)

Bhargav Ram
Bhargav Ram

Bhargav is a mechanogeek who goes right down to the nucleus of every product - from rockets to tablets - to understand its mechanism and blog about it.


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