Monday 22 July 2013

Keeping an eye on the ball!

Successful conclusion to school’s vision project for football tracking

Stemmer Imaging and a team of 4 students from Farnborough Sixth Form College have completed a 6 month vision project to develop a system for tracking a football’s trajectory during a penalty kick and investigate ways of implementing the technique into a smartphone and tablet app. This continues Stemmer’s commitment to support engineering education in Britain.

The project forms part of the Engineering Education Scheme in England & Scotland, an EDT Programme which links teams of four Year 12 or S5/S6 students and their teacher with local companies to work on real, scientific, engineering and technological problems. At the recent regional ‘Celebration and Assessment Day’ held at BP Sunbury, the panel of judges awarded the Farnborough team 91 marks out of a possible maximum of 104 (the top mark in their group) based on technical skills, communication skills and project management. (EDT operates a range of work-related learning schemes to provide opportunities for 11-21 year olds to enhance their technical, personal and employability skills and careers awareness through industry-led projects, industrial placements and specialised courses.)

The judges rated their 55 page report as ‘at least undergraduate level, more like professional level’. They also received the only two ‘outstanding’ marks awarded (one for how they responded to being interviewed about the project, the other for their innovation and enterprise).

Dr. Jon Vickers, Technical Manager at Stemmer IMAGING UK, co-ordinated the technical aspects of the project. He said: “With the recent announcement by the English Premier League that they will use ‘goal line technology’ in season 2013-14 and the likely uptake of similar technology by FIFA for the 2014 World Cup, football trajectory tracking is highly topical. In this project, the students had to consider the theoretical requirements of capturing 3D data describing the trajectory of the ball and then put that into practice to evaluate the cameras, lenses, software and lighting needed. They also had to take account of effects on the ball such as spin. They then looked at how the techniques could be translated into a game and came up with 4 possible ideas, before deciding on an app that would allow players to score points by trying to hit different targets in the goal. They were able to produce some very encouraging prototype ideas.”

Mark Williamson, Director – Corporate Market Development at Stemmer, said: “The UK engineering industry in general and the vision industry in particular will be best served in the future by engineers whose skills include practical experience and understanding of the needs of business as well as their theoretical knowledge. We are delighted to be able to make a small practical contribution to this process through this project, following on from our previous support of EDT with a cash donation in 2011. Although there was a good deal of technical content to this project, there was also a strong business element, with students investigating what was already on the market and learning about the costs of developing a product and the impact they have on profitability.”

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