Feeds

Scientists learn to bend it like Beckham

Football spin scrutinised

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Remote control for virtualized desktops

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

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
MEN: For pity's sake SLEEP with LOTS of WOMEN - and avoid Prostate Cancer
And, um, don't sleep with other men. If that's what worries you
Voyager 1 now EIGHTEEN LIGHT HOURS from home
Almost 20 BEEELION kilometres from Sol
HUGE SHARK as big as a WWII SUBMARINE died out, allowing whales to exist
Who'd win a fight: Megalodon or a German battleship?
Jim Beam me up, Scotty! WHISKY from SPAAACE returns to Earth
They're insured for $1m, before you thirsty folks make plans
ROGUE SAIL BOAT blocks SPACE STATION PODULE blastoff
Er, we think our ISS launch beats your fishing expedition
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
BAE points electromagnetic projectile at US Army
Railguns for 'Future fighting vehicle'
LONG ARM of the SAUR: Brachially gifted dino bone conundrum solved
Deinocheirus mirificus was a bit of a knuckle dragger
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.