Sailing animation system sets new standards in test cricket coverage

Animation Research Ltd’s founder, Ian Taylor (right) talks with Martin Tasker before the 33rd America’s Cup in Valencia

The animation and replay package developed by New Zealand's Animation Research Ltd has set new standards in the television world after being used in the first Ashes cricket match between Australia and England.

ARL won the contract this year for its Virtual Eye technology to be used on Australia's Nine Network.

The technology was originally developed in 1991, for the 1992 Louis Vuitton and America's Cups and has been a world leader for the past 20 years across many sports as well as yachting.

One of the options for instant judging in the Olympic sailing regatta will be the use of animation and GPS based replays. The latest enhancements have seen the speed of the ball tracking technology more than double from 110 frames to 230 frames per second.

The NZ Herald reports that 'Animation Reseach managing director Ian Taylor was happy the technology succeeded in two moments that could have defined the match.

'In developing Virtual Eye for the Ashes, Animation Research realised that if it was to meet demanding international standards it had to improve on the latest technology available.

'Animation Research rebuilt its ball tracking technology from the ground up and improved the speed from 110 frames per second to 230 frames per second, Taylor said.

'This is great for television but under earlier circumstances it was where the ball would go if it hadn't hit anything. Under the review, the question became where does it go if it hits a person. Did the ball hit the pad below the roll bar, to the left or right of the pad?

'At 110 frames you can't tell. With 230 frames you can see the indent on the pad, the frames are so fast.'

'Animation Research won the contract for the Ashes during the winter, when no cricket pitches in Dunedin were open. So the team built a scale model wooden pitch, installed a plastic pipe and rolled Jaffas down the pipe. When the Jaffas emerged from the pipe, the technology tracked it.

'That's how we developed the 230 frames per second. We had a quarter of a million dollars worth of hardware tracking Jaffas on a wooden pitch that cost about $10.'

For the full story in NZ Herald http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10691163!click_here