How do you go about updating a game that originated in the 16th century? Intel thinks that it has the answer.
At the International Cricket Council (ICC) Champions Trophy in late May, Intel executives showed off the ways in which modern technology can enhance this most British of sports. Technology, of course, has changed the way in which we watch sporting events, but Intel also wants to change the way that cricket is played.
Intel's Falcon 8 drone will be used for pitch analysis before every Champions Trophy match. The drone has HD and IR cameras, providing an excessive amount of information on conditions, including grass health, grass cover and topology. Commentators will use this data during broadcasts.
Marketing director Anuj Dua introduced the bat sensor, powered by Intel Curie technology. Mounted on a cricket bat, the 25g sensor will generate data for every stroke that the batsman plays, tracking parameters like back-lift, bat speed and follow-through. Intel didn't detail how many sensors would be deployed, only saying that "some" batsmen would use them. Data is sent over an ultra-wide band wireless network, avoiding interference from fans' smartphones and other devices.
The sensor uses BatSense technology from Indian company Speculur, which Speculur MD Stul Srivastava says, "has the potential to transform cricket." The company plans to make its technology available to consumers (with Intel sensors) in the UK, USA, Australia and India in the second half of the year.
Player-turned-commentator Nasser Hussain, joining Dua on stage, said that the combination of BatSense and Intel will change how many parts of cricket are perceived, including player performance; game strategy; and adjudication.
It's not only the players who will benefit from Intel's advancements (purists might call it "meddling"). Fans in will also get to be a part of the action, thanks to the use of VR headsets at The Oval and Edgbaston stadiums. They will be able to face off against a virtual bowler and test their batting skills using an Intel Curie bat.
David Richardson, CEO of the ICC, said, "We couldn't be more excited to have Intel as our official innovation partner of the ICC Champions Trophy 2017. The innovations Intel is bringing to the game promise to transform how cricket is experienced and enjoyed around the world, and we look forward to partnering with Intel in this effort."
The ICC is not the first organisation to work with Intel. This year, the National Football League (NFL), National Basketball League (NBA), the National Collegiate Athlete Association (NCAA) and Professional Golf Association (PGA) in the USA began to use Intel's FreeD camera technology and Intel True VR.
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