Feeds

Scientists learn to bend it like Beckham

Football spin scrutinised

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Intelligent flash storage arrays

David Beckham need fret no more about dodgy penalty shots, or scary pre-freekick moments. Scientists at Loughborough University have developed a system that will measure a football's speed and spin, something they say has not been accomplished before.

In this article (pdf), the team describes an image recognition system that can take accurate measurements of ball velocity, elevation, spin rate and spin axis. The ball is marked with various coloured panels so that each orientation of the ball produces a unique 2D image. Once the ball is struck the imaging system takes two sequential snaps of the ball at specific time intervals. The system then calculates the ball's velocity and elevation from its relative positions in each frame, and uses a pattern matching algorithm to work out its spin from the change in visible marker panels.

How the research will actually be used in the real world is an open question. It is possible that cutting edge roboticists, possibly working in collusion with Kevin Warwick, will use the results to develop the perfect penalty-taking cyborg.

An in-house football enthusiast here at El Reg says that in fact the most confusing ball to face, when standing in goal, is one that doesn't spin at all. This, he tells us, leaves it vulnerable to the whimsy of variations in air temperature, which cause the ball to veer around seemingly at random. We're pretty sure that Beckham et al already know this, but we thought we'd mention it, just in case...®

Related stories

Fly.be rapped for 'harass Swiss ref' email ad
Scientists send Buckyballs to detox
Beckham penalty outrage ball heads for space

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
GRAV WAVE DRAMA: 'Big Bang echo' may have been grit on the scanner – boffins
Exit Planet Dust on faster-than-light expansion of universe
Mine Bitcoins with PENCIL and PAPER
Forget Sudoku, crunch SHA-256 algos
SpaceX Dragon cargo truck flies 3D printer to ISS: Clawdown in 3, 2...
Craft berths at space station with supplies, experiments, toys
NASA rover Curiosity drills HOLE in MARS 'GOLF COURSE'
Joins 'traffic light' and perfect stony sphere on the Red Planet
'This BITE MARK is a SMOKING GUN': Boffins probe ancient assault
Tooth embedded in thigh bone may tell who pulled the trigger
DOLPHINS SMELL MAGNETS – did we hear that right, boffins?
Xavier's School for Gifted Magnetotaceans
Big dinosaur wowed females with its ENORMOUS HOOTER
That's right, Doris, I've got biggest snout in the prehistoric world
Japanese volcano eruption reportedly leaves 31 people presumed dead
Hopes fade of finding survivors on Mount Ontake
That glass of water you just drank? It was OLDER than the SUN
One MEELLION years older. Some of it anyway
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.