If you regularly watch modern sports on the television, you must have seen the hawk-eye technology being used. It’s ok if you don’t know what hawk-eye technology is since we’ll be discussing the basics of hawk-eye technology. Read through to know what it is.
What is Hawk-Eye Technology?
Hawk-Eye is the most ultra-modern tool employed in any sport. Hawk-Eye first made its name in Cricket Television broadcast, yet the brand has multiform in Tennis, cricket, badminton, Snooker, and Coaching. It is currently developing a system for Football. Hawk-Eye is the only ball-tracking device to have passed stringent ITF testing measures.
Hawk-Eye provides a distinctive blend of innovation, experience, and accuracy that has revolutionized the sporting world. In simple terms, it is a camera system that is able to trace the trajectory of the ball throughout the game. It is accurate, modern, practical, and genuine.
Interestingly, the technology to completely change the dynamic of the sports world until now is Hawk-Eye technology. The technology used in Hawk-Eye was previously used in missile tracking and brain surgery. The technology was modified by UK based organization named Hawk-Eye to be used in sports. Hawk-Eye is currently owned by Sony and was developed by Paul Hawkins.
Hawk-Eye technology utilizes six to seven top-of-the-line cameras arranged over the field of play. We essentially get an eagle’s eye view to investigate the flight and direction of an object being utilized in sports competitions. Hawk-Eye technology has been more accurate than a judge’s eye.
Why do sports use Hawk-eye technology?
The technology allows officials to make quick and accurate decisions to try and interrupt play as little as possible. While making the game fairer to players and officials as the decisions are more accurate. The major perk of this type of technology is that it gives the broadcasters the ability to enhance the viewing experience for fans at home.
How does Hawk-Eye work?
Hawk-Eye uses 6 high-speed expert vision processing cameras which are located around the ground and calibrated. In inclusion, the system uses the two “Mat” broadcast cameras and calibrates them so that the visual is often always overlaid within the right place.
All cameras have “anti-wobble” software to deal with camera motion. When a ball is bowled, the system is in a position to automatically identify and find the ball within each and every frame of video from each camera. By combining the positions of the ball in each of the camera frames, the 3d and 4d positioning of the ball are measured throughout the delivery. The delivery is broken down into two independent components: delivery to bounce and bounce to impact. By measuring the position of the ball at multiple frames the speed, direction of travel, post and pre bounce, swing and dip are often can be calculated for that specific delivery. No inherent characteristics of the pitch are required as part of the system apart from deliveries that hit the batsman on the full. Using these measured characteristics of the ball’s flight up to impact, the future path is forecasted.
Examples of Hawk-Eye statistics include:
- Wagon Wheels
- Pitch Maps
- Reaction Time
- Ball Speeds
It’s also exciting to see the various directions in which he must have sent every bowler packing! The Wagon Wheel gives you an idea of the different areas where the batsman has been targeting to score singles, doubles, boundaries, or sixes. Plus, looking at the trajectories of the shots you easily know why Dhoni is one of the most feared batsmen in cricket!
Only if we could see the angle of deviation of the ball of the century! Yeah, we’re talking about Shane Warne’s leg-break delivery that left Mike Gatting spellbound! But let’s not deviate from the topic here, it’s still about a virtual system of checking the angle of turn or deviation of a ball after it has pitched. The blue trajectory shows the actual delivery had it not spun or seamed and the red trajectory shows the actual delivery.
This consists of a virtual map of the various areas of the pitch where the bowler has bowled a delivery. It shows you how consistent a bowler is, in terms of line and length. There’s a split-screen format where you can see a particular bowler bowling to left and right-handed batsmen. Last but not the least, it also clearly indicates why although being extremely fast, Shoaib Akhtar might just not be the best choice for a bowler in comparison to Glenn McGrath!
Somewhat similar to the Pitch Map, this one takes it from a batsman’s perspective. So, you can see which deliveries were scored for runs and which were just left for dot balls.
Another feature of Hawk-Eye is aimed at bowlers. RailCam lets you see the difference in speed and bounce between the deliveries bowled either by the same bowler or by different bowlers. While this also talks about a bowler’s line and length, you can see whether he has variations in his repertoire!
In most cases, this feature is applied at the reaction time of a particular fielder, especially during an awesome catch. But, you can also see how quickly a bowler pitches the delivery. So guess how long Yuvraj takes to dive for that catch of the century?
This is as simple as it gets. Ball Speeds lets you trace the different speeds of a ball after delivery. So you can see whether a batsman gets knocked out by a fast-paced delivery, or fooled by a slower one.
What sports is Hawk-Eye Technology used in?
As highlighted earlier, the technology is used across a vast array of sports ranging from; Cricket, Football, Tennis, Rugby Union, Volleyball, and Ice Hockey. Also, the technology can be seen in sports such as NASCAR and Horse Racing! It’s fantastic to see that so many sports are embracing technology to provide instant feedback on important decisions with their sports.
The technology behind the quick decision-making in football is a complex process of installing 7 cameras per goal (which in total would be 14 cameras for a match) the location is usually on the roof of the stadiums to give the best visibility. The cameras process images for each one to identify where the ball is within the goal, also determining areas in which the ball definitely is not in. The camera can pick up any pattern of the ball (even if it has got mud on the ball!). Some may question the accuracy of such a system; the system is able to locate the ball if it’s been found in 2 of the 7 cameras in the goal! The system is mm accurate this, therefore, removes the need for broadcasters to replay decisions that may be questionable. As soon as a ball has crossed the line the system then sends a signal to the official/referee watch, providing instant feedback to the match official.
In tennis, Hawk-eye has been used since 2002, named Electronic Line Calling (ELC). The technology is now used in over 80 tournaments worldwide every year. The ELC can track player indents, virtual reality statistics, player tracking, and post-match analysis. Hawk-eye’s Ultra-Motion camera can work up to 340 frames per second to render both the trajectory and bounce mark of the ball to real video footage. Up to 10 cameras are set up around the court to capture live images and also calculate bounce marks of the contact area of the ball during gameplay.
Hawk-Eye’s SMART Replay technology is now being used within rugby unions. It gives the officials in rugby the ability to make decisions that may have been missed otherwise. Also, the officials can pass on videos to doctors to help with the treatment of injuries.
Advantages and Disadvantages of the Hawk-Eye System
- Hawk-Eye aids umpires and game referees to make vital decisions that ultimately could prove to be game-changing decisions.
- Hawk-Eye technology helps to ensure more accuracy with regard to results.
- In tennis, there’s a 3.6 mm error margin. Some would argue that the error margin is too large and the Hawk-Eye technology should be even more accurate.
- Hawk-Eye, on occasion, does fail.
- There is an argument that with computerized technology involved, the “natural” beauty of sport is being diminished.
What is the future of technology in sport?
With the widespread usage of technology in sports, it is apparent that the technology in professional games is going to be used more frequently and become more accessible to the lower leagues. With the use of technology such as Hawk-eye and VAR, it is becoming largely accepted in professional sports. However, there is criticism of the speed of decisions being made. Not only are we seeing technology grow for decision-making in sports but we are seeing growth in training aids for sports such as Smart Goals (An innovative technology to make training more effective). The future of the sport looks like technology and innovation are on the horizon, as sports manufacturers we embrace such changes in the sport and look forward to what’s next.
As we conclude, There are times when the human eye can actually miss a certain detail and Hawk-Eye can help in such circumstances. That is why it is a very helpful technology, especially in sports.