New Benefits from 2018 Paper’s Computer Vision Techniques

Computer Vision techniques from the 2018 research paper, “Soccer On Your Tabletop” continue to be useful to the field. The paper, by UW Reality Lab leadership and researchers, was recently cited by The New York Times‘ Research & Development team, in a piece on their preparations for the 2020 Summer Olympics, called “Estimating 3D Poses of Athletes at Live Sporting Events“:

“…To determine each camera’s location and orientation, existing systems require them to be placed in a fixed position with a physical calibration board visible to all cameras. But this type of calibration is not possible at live sports events, as we can’t place a calibration board in the middle of a court or field. Additionally, our photographers are likely to be in different locations throughout the course of an event. Instead, we rely on a technique detailed in a 2018 research paper jointly created by the University of Washington, Facebook and Google. The researchers found that one can use the known geometry from a regulation-size soccer field in place of a calibration board. To do this, the researchers marked the points of the soccer field visible on screen and used the screen-to-real-world correspondences to calibrate the camera. Using this method, we can similarly calibrate the position of a camera for a balance beam routine using the beam itself, the exact geometry of which is known based on regulation sizes for equipment.

The article, by Dan Oved, Amelia Pisapia, Anna Gudnason, notes that they began using this method for gymnastics, but found that it also applies well to other sports, such as tennis and track and field.

We look forward to seeing the Times use this in their Olympics coverage!

3D pose estimation of a gymnast performing a split leap on balance beam, captured using 2D images from three angles
(visualization from NYT article by Dan Oved, Amelia Pisapia, Anna Gudnason)

“The New York Times Research and Development team applies emerging technologies in service of our company’s mission to seek the truth and help people understand the world.”

Find the Soccer On Your Tabletop project in the pages of the UW Reality Lab and UW GRAIL (Graphics & Imaging Lab). It is the work of Konstantinos Rematas, Ira Kemelmacher-Shlizerman, Brian Curless, and Steve Seitz.

“Soccer On Your Tabletop” by Konstantinos Rematas, Ira Kemelmacher-Shlizerman, Brian Curless, and Steve Seitz