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What Does Football Look Like for the Ball?

Researchers have developed an image stabilization program that can actually smooth out the footage and give you some great, ball’s- eye-view shots

If you’ve ever wondered how a football experiences the gridiron game, you’re in luck. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University recently strapped a GoPro camera on a ball, to see just what the ball experiences. Normally, that footage is essentially unwatchable. It’s so jittery that it’s nearly impossible to tell what’s happening. But that’s where computer scientists come in—the researchers have developed an image stabilization program that can actually smooth out the footage and give you some great, ball’s-eye-view shots.

PetaPixel explains a bit more about how it works:

The software works by recognizing and pulling out frames that have the ground in them and ignoring those with sky. It then takes those ground frames and stitches them together to create the semi-smooth effect you see in the top right.

In fact, New Scientist writes that the work was inspired by a Popular Science article in which a camera is sandwiched inside a ball. New Scientist also explains researcher Kris Kitani’s argument that this technology could find it’s way into the NFL:

Kitani is confident the technique could be miniaturised and streamlined to fit unobtrusively into a US National Football League football, but suspects that the NFL’s strict standards will hold the technology back in the near future. “If professional hardware were to come in, you’d be able to separate the lens from the recording device,” he says, allowing for the recording device to be stored securely within the ball. “The technology is there.”

Kitani wants you to imagine watching the game not from a bird’s eye view above, but as the ball. And given fans’ hunger for shots from every angle available, that might one day be a standard of the game.

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About Rose Eveleth
Rose Eveleth

Rose Eveleth is a writer for Smart News and a producer/designer/ science writer/ animator based in Brooklyn. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Scientific American, Story Collider, TED-Ed and OnEarth.

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