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Hiding in Plain Sight

To travel between halls 7 and 8 visitors walk across a skybridge that takes them over The Beach, an actual beach that is quite popular with exhibitors and attendees alike. Many people are stopping, however, to watch a beach volleyball game being played on the sand below. These oglers should go down and take a closer look, though, because the spectacle is actually a showcase of some very cool tech from Hego.


The first tip-off that this isn't a spontaneous match between rival gangs of beautiful Dutch girls is the large outdoor display showing a live view of the game, the kind you're likely to see in any sports arena around the world. The view switches to show serves and returns and also follows the play as the ball passes over the net.


Mounted beside the net is a box containing the capture element of Hego's OB1 "complete sports production solution". Six fixed HD cameras are arrayed inside the box each offset from each other to produce what will be panoramic view of the playing field. The software running on the PC receiving these signals stitches the views together to create a seamless panorama, and the single operator controls the what is seen by virtual cameras.


This separation of camera and performance reminds me of the technology James Cameron created for Avatar. The computer is recording the entire panoramic image, so if the operator of the live stream was to miss a key play they can easily produce a replay showing the action with a corrected camera view. Indeed the Hego rep I spoke with described OB1's use as a training tool, where an entire game or practice can recorded by the system and then later the coach can review each play over and over, each time focusing on a different player or position.

IBC visitors can certainly be forgiven for not appreciating what is actually being demonstrated, but I encourage you to take a closer look at what's happening just off the court. It is enough to distract from the distraction.

Posted By Wes Plate on September 12, 2010 11:15 am | Permalink