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BallCam Football Camera Shows Ball's-Eye View Of Spiral Pass (VIDEO)

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Fans of televised football are used to seeing the action from just about every angle, but a new invention promises a look from a never-before-seen perspective: the football's-eye view.

The BallCam, a foam football with a video camera embedded in its side, was created by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Electro-Communications (UEC) in Tokyo.

What makes the BallCam especially interesting is that it "sees" the playing field clearly even when the football is thrown with a spiral. The researchers developed a computer algorithm to convert the raw video into a stable, downward-looking view, as seen in the YouTube clip above.

ballcamThis BallCam was created by the research team to generate video sequences from a football's point of view.

How does it work? The BallCam records a succession of frames with a narrow field of view when the ball is thrown, and the algorithm builds a wide-angle image of the whole playing field out of the parts.

It helps if the ball is thrown with a clean spiral, which can be a science unto itself. Materials scientist Dr. Ainissa Ramirez explains it this way in a Yale University video:

"When we spin the ball, the ball acts like a gyroscope, and it's able to hit its target with much more precision. Also, the spinning of the ball allows for less air-resistance, or less drag, so that it can travel to its destination even more quickly."

A paper describing the BallCam will be presented on March 8 at the Augmented Human International Conference in Stuttgart, Germany.

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