A team of researchers and students at Carnegie Mellon University are working on a project that focuses on developing new technologies that can assist referees in making calls during specific game situations in football.
Their current studies involve tracking a football using a GPS receiver chip – just like the ones in your vehicle – listening to satellites that are about 20,000KM up in the air. Their goal is to accurately determine a football’s 3D position in real time.
They literally place a whole circuit board, battery, and the receiver (Ublox Antrais LEA-4T, SiRF Star III) into a football.
And if you’ve ever used a GPS navigation system you’ll immediately think how this is possible considering these receivers can’t even figure out what side of the freeway you’re on at times; forget helping a referee when inches matter.
Well they made some improvements by switching from built-in patch antennas to helical antennas but their resolution is still around 30 feet. Oh, and their ball weighs 3.5 ounces over what NFL currently allows.
They’re also developing gloves with touch sensors that can wirelessly transmit data to a computer.