Where were you Sunday evening? As a football fan, I was watching the Dallas Cowboys Season Opener against the New York Giants, on NBC Sunday Night Football. This was a defining moment for Machine Vision: the first time that Replay Technologies “FreeD” was deployed on NFL turf to display “Matrix-like 3D rendering of the action. And they happen to be using technology powered by Teledyne DALSA! I’m not used to seeing our products showcased during prime time on a major US network, hence my enthusiasm for this particular game (granted I always enjoy the performance of the Cowboys cheerleaders, who wouldn’t?).
Machine Vision (MV) has always been about high bandwidth and high resolution image acquisition. What’s interesting now is how other markets are starting to use MV technology to create systems that Star Trek fans (count me in Mr. Spock!) have been dreaming of. And you can expect this trend to increase as these wild guys from Hollywood and the like find new ways to innovate with high-frame rate cameras. This is the difference between artists and engineers I guess!
How does this work? Well, the folks at Replay Technology are certainly smarter than I am. They combine the images from twelve Falcon2 12 Megapixel CMOS color cameras connected to Xcelera frame grabbers to create a 3D rendering of the live action. This enables viewers to watch replays from angles that cannot be obtained using traditional TV broadcast systems. Exactly like in video games. And you thought stereo vision was complex! Using their algorithm, they can interpolate images when moving from one camera to the next, and provide views that could only, until last Sunday, be seen on the holodeck.
For the record, this started with baseball – at Yankee stadium. And now, who knows where this could lead? The Machine Vision world continues to deliver innovations that are leveraged by other markets: security, traffic surveillance, entertainment. These are new opportunities for all of us: when adjacent markets benefit from our work, there is a larger pie to share. And I love sharing as long as there is more for me! Where will MV take us next? Who knows? I have ideas, but I am sure you have a few yourself.
Time’s up. Beam me up Scotty!