automatic umpires and tennis judges

With laser technology and multi core pentiums…why cant we replace umpires, tennis, volleyball judges etc. with technology? With the millions of dollars at stake in these games, why would we not rely on 100% accurate computers for this when we do rely on them for things like breathalyzers, radar guns, etc for convicting a person in court?

Just curious…certainly dont want to piss off the umpires union…

because computers aren’t advanced enough to “see” a ball or a person.

They already have automatic systems for line calls on a tennis serve, I’m not sure why it’s not used for the resulting rally. Perhaps it can’t distinguish between a tennis ball and a players foot.

I don’t know the reason, but that technology is not used everywhere or at all times. The most famous version is called Cyclops.

Soon they’ll add the replay technology that announcers and viewers at home have, which should fix things. Although they should’ve done that years ago. Technology rocks. The CBS MacCam, which had a very high frame rate and focused on the baseline, was terrific. ESPN has their thing, which triangulates the position of the ball to a very high degree of accuracy using a couple of cameras. Systems that can show the judge and viewer what happened are better than the older models.

Isn’t it part of the game to yell “Killl the ump!!!”? What you propose would take all the fun out of baseball.

Major League Baseball is using a system called QuesTec to monitor and train umpires in calling consistent strikes. They started using it one or two years ago, with a few vocal opponents. Theoretically, I guess they could use QuesTec to call all the pitches, but that would really cause an uproar.

You can check out their website here looks like they have some neat stuff.

There are plans to introduce an electronic system during next year’s Masters events, I believe.

It’s pressure from sponsors that’s partly driving it - with multi-million dollar contracts in the mix they want to be 100% sure if that ball was in or out.

At Wimbledon this year they’ve been using “Hawkeye” missile tracking technology to show the TV viewers whether the ball was in or out - I guess something similar will be used to determine line-calls in near real-time.

http://www.hawkeyeinnovations.co.uk/Flasharea/Hawkeye.htm

Also used in baseball and cricket.

In baseball, I think a system could be designed to automatically call balls and strikes on a batter; however, calling outs is much more complicated, just because there are so many ways for a batter or runner to be called out.

I could see using Questec for balls & strikes but keeping the umps for the tag plays / check swings/ etc.

As the strike zone in baseball is dependent on the size and stance of the batter I don’t think it would be trivial to implement a computer umpire.

From what I’ve read, the technology exists but nobody wants it. Sports fans like the human element in the game.

I’d think near impossible. It would be easy to measure every baseball player. But the player can alter his stance. Thus the computer system would have to take this into account. Note the rule says “from the batter’s stance as the batter is prepared to swing at a pitched ball”. How can a computer exactly determine this moment?

It’s certainly possible to implement systems where the umpire can request a judgement from video footage. Rugby and cricket both do this in certain circumstances. Hawk-Eye is an excellent example of the technology.

There’s various issues. Firstly, the slowing of a game. A football (ahem soccer) match would be killed by constant reference to off-pitch judgements. Plus, the FA have a policy that all matches should be officiated in the same manner. Either you issue all the equipment to every club (never going to happen), or you persuade them to add a new divide. And then you can decide where the divide should be.

Computer vision’s getting pretty good. I have no doubt that a system could be trained for the specialized problem of picking out a batter on video and determining where various joints were.

I recall in the early 90s there was a system in Wrigley Field for measuring home run distance. Whenever a homer was hit, the scoreboard said “IBM presents Tale of the Tape” followed by the distance. Never did figure out how this was calculated, where the cameras were, or why it was discontinued.

Rickey Henderson famously didn’t come out of his crouch to swing, cutting down his strike zone quite a bit. Jeff Bagwell looks like he’s sitting on an invisible chair, and doesn’t come out of that position much, either.

I saw something on TV a few years ago about these things, and at most ball parks, “Tale of the Tape” is a guy in the press box with a map of the stadium and a pair of binoculars watching where the ball landed, checking on the map, making a guess, and bumping it up a few feet for the home team. Nothing high-tech about it.

As far as why not replace officials with computers, etc, the statement above in reference to FIFA is a good one. Most sports are played by the same rules from the highest levels down to the youth leagues, and the governing bodies would be reluctant to add in rules that most leagues would be unable to comply with (or rules that would create a “digital divide” within their own sport).

Although some governing football organizations have said they would experiment with technology that would put a chip of some sort into a ball to determine when it has crossed the line.

Tennis is unlike baseball, football and basketball, as it’s uncommon to have someone outside the players making judgment calls. Only at the highest amateur level are judges used for this – and even at the lowest Pro levels, the players make the calls for most matches.

Whether this feature means technology is more or less likely in tennis as opposed to other sports, I haven’t a clue.

Acc. to Mary Carrillo’s commentary during the Australian Open, they will introduce a replay in the U.S. Open this year. They will presumably use the “Hawkeye” system (which is a computer recreation of the shot), however they have not ironed out the details (e.g. how many times you can request it (or if only the umpire can request it), whether you will lose your replay if you are proven correct, etc.)

Cyclops only gauges one line (the back service line) and I believe it uses a laser. I don’t know how they’d install one on the side lines without the machine being in the player’s way.