Imaging takes to the pool

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Fans of tennis and cricket will be aware of the imaging technology that has infiltrated both sports (Hawk-Eye in tennis and the Decision Review System in cricket), but now swimming has taken the step to install imaging equipment at competitions.

The FINA World Swimming Championships, which begin today in Barcelona and run until 4 August, will be monitored by an advanced image-processing system. The system will capture biomechanical data of the athletes, such as pass times and velocities, turns, stroke frequency and amplitude. Disciplines including swimming, diving, water polo, and synchronised swimming will be part of the championships.

The imaging tool monitoring the swimmers, called InThePool 2.0, was designed and implemented by STT, a motion capture technology company based in San Sebastian, Spain. The system compiles biomechanical data into statistic reports and provides high value information for the teams and their trainers to analyse each swimmer’s performance. The data is also available for use by television broadcasters.

Cameras from Allied Vision Technologies will be positioned above the pool to monitor the swimmers in each lane. Two rows of five cameras will capture images of eight lanes over the full length of the pool (50m). The captured images are processed in real time by STT’s InThePool software, based on Halcon from MVTec, which is connected to the official timing system.

The AVT Mako cameras were chosen for this project because of their GigE Vision interface. Gigabit Ethernet is the best suited interface to bridge the long distances between the cameras on the ceiling of the hall and the host computers. The project was supported by imaging specialist and AVT’s representative in Spain, Infaimon.

Pablo Callejo, STT vice-president of sales, said: ‘Just like the athletes competing at this championship, we at STT have been working hard on this project to make sure our system performs perfectly during the event.’

‘As a Barcelona-based company, we are particularly proud to provide the cameras for this major sporting event,’ said Salvador Giró, CEO of Infaimon. ‘We are also very glad that we were able to implement the brand new Mako camera series from Allied Vision Technologies.’

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