TechMan Texts: Smart sports are the next big thing
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We have smartphones, smart houses and smart cars, and it looks like smart sporting goods are next.
Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Electro-Communications in Tokyo have shown that a camera embedded in the side of a rubber-sheathed plastic foam football can record video while the ball is in flight.
According to a news release from CMU, because a football can spin at 600 rpm (revolutions per minute), the raw video is an unwatchable blur. But the researchers developed a computer algorithm that converts the raw video into a stable, wide-angle view.
The work was done by Kris Kitani, a post-doctoral fellow in Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Institute, and UEC's Kodai Horita.
To see the ballcam in action, go to YouTube and search on ballcam.
Meanwhile, a Dublin, Ohio-based company called InfoMotion has created a high-tech, Bluetooth-equipped basketball that senses a player's motions and, after analyzing the data, shares it wirelessly to a compatible iOS or Android smartphone app.
Mike Crowley, InfoMotion's CEO, told allthingsd.com that the app doesn't just spit out data; it offers advanced diagnostics to help players improve their games.
The sensors can measure the direction of the ball's spin and the quickness of a player's release after catching the ball. In terms of ball handling, the Bluetooth ball knows the efficiency of the left hand versus the right, and how hard you dribble with each -- in a sense, how confident you are with the ball.
Using this data, the app will recognize patterns and offer suggestions to improve your game.
Cable provider Cablevision has filed a federal lawsuit against Viacom, claiming that the media company has forced it to pay for "14 lesser-watched ancillary networks its customers do not want" in order to keep popular channels like MTV, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon in its lineup.
The suit calls out Palladia, MTV Hits and VH1 Classic as just a few of these undesirable networks and claims that Viacom has "abused its market power" to coerce the cable provider into carrying the channels.
A cable company suing because it is forced to buy channels it doesn't want? Isn't that the pot calling the kettle black?
Texan Cody Wilson's nonprofit organization, Defense Distributed, released a video recently showing a gun firing off over 600 rounds -- not unusual for an AR-15 semiautomatic assault rifle -- except this gun came from a 3-D printer.
Last year, Mr. Wilson famously demonstrated that he could use a 3-D-printed "lower" for an AR-15 -- but the gun failed after six rounds. Now, Defense Distributed has shown that it has fixed the design flaws.
The lower, or "lower receiver" part of a firearm, is the crucial part that contains all of the gun's operating parts, including the trigger group and the magazine port.
More than 10,000 people have downloaded the computer file needed to print the gun.
Dubious progress, I'd say.
Geek word of the week: Showrooming -- Going to a store to examine a product and then buying it for a cheaper price on the Internet. Bricks-and-mortar retailers hate this practice.
Messaging code of the week: BIBO -- beer in, beer out
First Published March 5, 2013 12:35 am