TECH TUESDAY: How goal-line technology works
September marks the beginning of many sports seasons at once, from the National Football League (NFL) regular season to the group stages of the Union of European Football Associations Champions League (CL). With this, technology in sports will once again make an appearance.
Technology can be found in many areas of sports, including goal-line technology in soccer to determine if a goal was scored, sensors in football helmets to determine if a concussion may be present, and cameras to track player and ball movements in basketball, according to SportTechie.
Among all of these pieces of technology, perhaps one of the most famous examples is the “yellow line” shown during football games, denoting the first down marker. The technology made its television debut 18 years ago today, according to mentalfloss.com.
The technology used for the yellow line was created following the introduction of a system that highlighted the movement and position of a hockey puck during hockey games, called FoxTrax. The system was abandoned, but it introduced the potential for technology to be used in sports, according to the site.
The line was designed by a company called Sportvision, founded by a group of people with the specific plan of applying technology to sports media, according to Sports Illustrated.
Sportvision made the line by first creating a model of the playing surface. Sensors were placed at the
Football fields are curved, with the center being higher than the edges so water can drain during inclement weather. Measurements had to be taken at every stadium, as each stadium has its own curvature that must be accounted for, according to the site.
To ensure the line shows up in the right place, exact shades of green had to be determined, accounting for shadows and different lighting. This is important so
Swatches of color would be taken before and during the game to update the hues of green the system would replace. The team took their own television truck to every game to produce the line for the broadcast, according to the site.
Other issues include ensuring that the line is in the right place, it does not move around and actually looks like it is on the field instead of floating in
This technology was in the works for months and shown to different broadcasters. The high price of $25,000 made many networks reject the idea, but
Another application of technology in sports is
Similar technology has been implemented in tennis, where it is used to decide whether the ball landed inside or outside of the line, according to the site.
There were many competitors attempting to have their product used by the EPL, including
GoalRef also created a magnetic
Hawk-Eye relies on six cameras placed around the field that
This technology was also used in the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup in
Each camera must be placed in an exact location to ensure precise calculations of the ball’s position. The cameras take about 500 pictures each second, updating location data constantly and precisely, according to the site.
Technology has had a massive influence on sports, and will only continue to shape the sporting world, according to SportTechie.
Harshel Patel is a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore majoring in molecular biology and biochemistry. He is the digital editor of The Daily Targum. He can be found on Twitter @harshel_p.