Gymnasts Could Soon Be Judged by Lasers
By Jake Rossen
Despite increasing technological breakthroughs—like instant replay and software that can detect errant tennis serves—most major sporting outcomes are still decided by human beings who don't always pick up important details. In gymnastics, for instance, one study observed that up to 60 percent of athlete errors were missed.
Fujitsu believes it has an answer. In collaboration with the Japan Gymnastics Association, the electronics company is developing 3D laser sensors that could be far more accurate than the human eye in registering the complex, rapid maneuvers performed by elite gymnasts, Vocativ reports. The hope is that recording physiological data (like joint placement) will help provide evidence for judge’s decisions and help eliminate any potential bias on the part of the official.
Because of the markers placed on bodies, existing motion capture is impractical for athletic events. Instead, Fujitsu plans on utilizing lasers that can "follow" an athlete in real time, transmitting information to software that will generate objective numbers on the angle of the participant.
Fujitsu is optimistic the technology—which could also be applied to figure skating—will be ready in time for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.