Intel revolutionises cricket with drones & sensors in Cricket bats

Sensors rule the world, set to change sports broadcasting

The words “Intel Inside” may never be the same again, we’ve become accustomed to seeing that on computers over many decades, and today it could even be seen on a cricket bat.

Through Intel’s partnership with the ICC Champions Trophy there are two amazing new innovations being launched for viewers and fans of the game.

Bat Sensor

We’ve got the snicko, the hot spot, the hawk-eye cameras and a raft of other technology which uses cameras and sensors to “see” and “hear” what happens on the pitch.  At the ICC Champions Trophy that technology goes one step further, with Intel sensors in the bats.

Powered by an Intel Curie module – a sensor is placed inside the standard cricket bat to offer a stunning new set of insights both for the players and coaches, and now for the fans watching at home.

Using this sensor there are six key areas of data which will be available to measure:

  • Time to Impact
    • Measuring the time between the back-lift of the bat through to the impact of the ball
  • Bat Speed at Impact
    • For the first time, we will know the bat speed now it hits the ball – combining this with the radar measured ball speed there will be new insights into the combinations of speed and power and the path of the ball thereafter.
  • Maximum Bat Speed
    • There’s going to be a whole new level of competition between players, who swings hardest. This measurement will be taken between the back lift and the follow through.
  • Follow through angle
    • Measuring the change in the angle after the impact
  • Back lift angle
    • Looking at the angle of the bat within the bat lift as the ball approaches
  • Impact angle
    • Understanding the angle of the bat at the moment of impact.

All this information will be available to teams, but also broadcasters for the first time.

How broadcasters chose to use the information is yet to be seen, but you can expect to see a speed of impact measure alongside the speed of the ball, and of course after a big hit or an important wicket the commentary team may be able to add a new layer of graphical analysis to understand the articular stroke in question.

The sensor sits on the end of the bat handle, has storage on board to retain the session information, and Bluetooth connectivity to enable the real-time data transfer.

Pitch Analysis

As a lover of cricket for many years, and a big fan of the 12th man, the famous Tony Greig pitch reports featuring the car keys, or weatherwall – understanding the quality of the pitch itself is an important part of the broadcast coverage and the team’s preparation for the game.

Intel is taking this to a whole new level with an Intel Falcon 8 drone equipped with advanced imaging and spectral cameras set to fly over every pitch before each ICC Champions Trophy match in England.

This advanced drone will be able to provide information about Grass Density, the Grass Health and the Pitch Typography.  Understanding if the pitch is likely to be a spinning pitch of a seaming pitch.

The pitch report has never been so comprehensive, and players may know about the most intricate undulations of the pitch or other things that the naked eye can’t detect.

Too Much Technology?

Former England Captain Nasser Hussain pointed out today at the launch that “there will be traditionalists of the game who will question if we really need this level of data and information”, but when you consider the advances being made in sports broadcasting and analysis you can only imagine this is just the start of a technological revolution about to hit our sports.

Intel Inside has never meant something so different, but it demonstrates the focus and vision a company like Intel has for the future.

Sandra Lopez, Intel Sports Group Vice President pointed out the scale of this connected future “By 2020 there will be 50 billion connected sensors out of 212 billion sensors” and Intel’s Curie sensor isn’t making its debut here at the ICC Champions Trophy, it’s been used at the X Games as well.

Available to you

The future though is bringing this technology to average Joes around the world.

The bat sensor technology – to be known as BatSense will be distributed worldwide by a company called Speculur.  BatSense will allow kids in the backyard and grade cricketers alike to get access to this level of technology.

Speculur Managing Director Atul Srivastava added, “Speculur BatSense with Intel Inside has the potential to transform cricket across a varied audience from coaches to aspiring self-taught cricketers.”

“Coaches can use their insights and expertise along with the bat sensor data to make specific adjustments to a batsman’s technique ultimately helping him perform better,” Srivastava added.

I watched the technology demonstrated in real time – and its stunning.    The data is ready to analyse the moment the shot is done.  You can even point your phone at your practice and the device will record each shot, rather than recording an hour of practice and looking back through it for each shot – the app paired with BatSense will also clip each of those shots so you can watch them back and see the data alongside it.

You can even see a “Wagon Wheel” of your shots, and tap on any single shot to see the data and the video of that shot.

The BatSense technology will be available August in 2017 including Australia, pricing is not confirmed, but is expected to be $150 USD.

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Tech

Trev produces two of the most popular technology podcasts in Australia, Your Tech Life and Two Blokes Talking Tech. He hosts a nightly radio show on Talking Lifestyle, 8pm Monday to Friday in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, appears on over 50 radio stations across Australia weekly, and is the Tech Expert on Channel 9’s Today Show and A Current Affair. Father of three, he is often found down in his Man Cave. Like this post? Buy Trev a drink!
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