Sony plans to introduce stereo 3D graphics from its newly acquired sports analysis system Hawk-Eye into live 3D sports productions, beginning as early as the 2011 Wimbledon finals, writes Adrian Pennington.
“We are talking with Hawk-Eye about any possible additions to what they are planning at Wimbledon and we are very interested in learning to what extent the Hawk-Eye system can be used as part of our 3D production plans,” explained David Bush, director of marketing for Sony Professional.
Hawk-Eye’s ball tracking technology has become a staple of television analysis and an official part of matchplay rulings at sports including tennis and cricket. With profits of about between £1.1- 1.8m a year its owners, Wisden, put the company up for sale last September to seek investment which would help expand the company into more sports, particularly in the US.
“We think this is a company with particular expertise which will combine very effectively with what we are doing in 3D,” said Bush.
One obvious application would be to generate 3D CG views of Hawk-Eye’s most familiar graphical replays – the trajectories of tennis and cricket balls over a court or on a wicket.
Other applications include working the technology into Sony’s existing sports analysis tools including player tracking software which is currently in development.
Hawk-Eye will also fit alongside Sony’s work-in-progress picture stitching application in which real or virtual images from three HD cameras can be stitched together and converted into a 3D image using the MPE-200 processor.
“We are a player in the sports technology business and Hawk-Eye expands the range of solutions we have to offer,” added Bush.
Hawk-Eye is also seeking to become FIFA’s preferred technology for goal-line referrals in world football.
Picture credit: Image courtesy of Hawk-Eye Innovations