Get a ball's-eye view with camera in football

BallCam shows the perspective from a spinning football, stitching images into seamless midair footage.

BallCam
BallCam takes you through the air and into a receiver's arms. Carnegie Mellon University

Do you really have enough camera angles when you watch a football game? Come on, you want more.

Feed your desire to be omnipresent with the wacky BallCam. It puts a camera inside the spinning football.

You'd think that would make you toss that mix of pizza, hotdogs, and beer in your stomach, but boffins at Carnegie Mellon University and Japan's University of Electro-Communications have made it a rather pleasant viewing experience.

CMU researcher Kris Kitani and UEM's Kodai Horita co-authored a paper on how algorithms in their prototype football can recognize footage of the ground as it spins at 600 rpm.

Software then discards images of the sky and knits the ground images together into a virtually seamless wide-angle view from the ball as it sails over the field. Check out the vid below showing the ball's view as it flies toward a receiver.

Unless the tech is miniaturized, the NFL probably won't be using the BallCam anytime soon--it's a plastic foam ball sheathed in rubber with a GoPro camera embedded in its side. But it could also be useful for training or movie productions.

"We're interested in how technology can be used to enhance existing sports and how it might be used to create new sports," Kitani said in a CMU release.

The researchers will present their project at the Augmented Human International Conference in Stuttgart, Germany, next week.

Meanwhile, the BallCam could be improved by adding even more cameras. Isn't that what we all want?


 

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