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Technology

Instant Microwave Replay

By Maia WeinstockFebruary 1, 2003 6:00 AM

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A remote-monitoring system, developed by Cairos Technologies in Germany, could settle disputed calls during soccer matches by providing a purely objective view of the game. Antennas placed around the field keep track of each player's position, speed, and kicking strength by collecting microwave signals from business-card-size transmitters in the players' shin guards. The soccer ball is fitted with a similar device, which indicates the ball's position, acceleration, and spin. "Even if the ball is behind a player, the microwave system can track it," says Rene Dünkler, a spokesman for Cairos. Signals from the ball and the players are transmitted to a central computer, which analyzes the game in real time. Information on each play gets radioed to a wristwatch-size receiver worn by the referee, who can stop the game if he misses an important call or makes an erroneous one. Several international soccer leagues have expressed interest in this system, which costs roughly $200,000 to install. Cairos engineers are currently testing it at the soccer stadium in Nuremberg and hope to perfect the technology before the next World Cup, to be held in Germany in 2006.

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