In the wake of an index card being used to make sure that there wasn't a first down last night:
along with our multitude of complaints about B1G refs (JT was short), may people have come out and said "Why can't they just put a chip in the football!"
Well, as a Michigan educated mechanical engineer, let me tell you: they could, but it's not easy and it's not cheap.
The first problem is that there can be absolutely no changes to the football itself. This is less of an issue in college than the NFL, where different universities have different sponsors and different footballs. Nike, Adidas, etc. Each might be slightly different. The NFL has one football (unless you're the Pats, ZING!) and it's gotta stay the same. In order to "track" the football, at a minimum you'd need to add sensors and power supplies. And those can't change the weight of the ball or the balance or the flight. The NBA tried to change their basketball a few years ago (to a sythetic leather at the urging of PETA and others) and it lasted less than 1 season because the players didn't like that it was different.
Good luck changing a football, as there aren't 32 people talented enough to throw them already.
Let's say that a team is able to create a weightless sensor/power supply that can also withstand all the batting around that happens to a football, a football is not a simple shape. The sensor must know where the ball is in a 3D space. Think about someone stretching the ball out forward, vs a runner who has it sideways. If the tip of the ball breaks the plane, TD. If the tip is sideline to sideline, it might not cross the line to gain. The sensor will have to know where in the ball it is, and the ball's orientation. Again, not simple. The sensors won't be able to move even when the ball is kicked, pitched, tackled, etc.
I think this may be do-able. Put tiny sensors in each end of the football along a "spine" that goes through the center of the ball with its power supply. An inflated ball weighs just less than a pound, so there isn't much weight to work with, but it's not 100% impossible. You'd need sensors that weigh next to nothing and power supplies that fit that description as well.
On the field you'd need some kind of equipment that can precisely spot the ball and its position on the field. These sensors can't be interrupted by people, can't be line-of-sight, can't have weather issues, and can't obstruct anyone's views. They can't be in the way of players on the bench substituting, and they need to know when the runner is "down". I have no idea how the runner being down fits into this, because that's discretionary. A system could cover things like forward progress, but you'd still be relying on a referee or a replay to show when a runner's knee touches. Which gets us back to the same problem...
We're an educated bunch here at MGoBlog, anyone have any other ideas?
I'm looking for a solution to get push notifications on my iPhone of when a Brian/Tim makes a new front page post (including bumping diaries to the front). I'd also like to be able to exclude certain types of posts from being pushed (some of the more in-depth recruiting posts).
I know Brian has a twitter feed I can subscribe to, but sometimes he gets drunk after player injuries and tweets non-sensically. I'm thinking a solution is setting up an RSS feed and then buying an RSS iPhone push app? Can you exlude certain types of posts this way?
What solutions are you guys using?
"The city of Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan are teaming up to meet Google's March 26 deadline to complete a Request for Information as part of the Internet search company's Fiber for Communities effort."
The University of Michigan is throwing its muscle power behind efforts to convince Google to select Ann Arbor as the site for its ultra high-speed Internet demonstration project.
U-M issued a news release today calling for Ann Arbor residents to mobilize through various social media platforms to wage a campaign to win the Internet project.
U-M, Ann Arbor city officials and local business officials are collaborating to lobby Google in hopes of winning the project, which would serve between 50,000 and 500,000 users.
From the U-M news release:
Aside from faster and better Internet for residents and students, a Google fiber optic network in Ann Arbor would make the area even more desirable for companies wanting to relocate. Faster connectivity coupled with the city's highly educated population and its long tradition of innovation and entrepreneurship could be a catalyst for retaining talent and business in the region.
"The University of Michigan is working closely with industry, government and other universities to catalyze Michigan's transformation to a new, more diverse and dynamic economy," said U-M President Mary Sue Coleman. "Access to ultrahigh-speed broadband networks in our area would be a significant spur to communication, cooperation and innovation in our community and beyond."
Ann Arbor residents should visit www.a2fiber.com to get involved.
So I was linked over to the FBS Google map recently, which pinpoints each Division I-A program and maps each conference's sphere of influence. (Type "NCAA FBS Schools" into Google maps and it will come up.)
I was thinking about an idea to map each week's games onto a Google map automatically - then one who loves maps and geography (like myself)
Our Fearless Leader isn't hip with the Google APIs and he has plenty to work on with the blog content anyway, so I am asking the board: anybody with mad computer skilz have any idea how to do this? The script/tool would have to:
-Read the game info (teams, location and time etc) from a schedule/manifest
-Generate map points for each game
-Possibly modify the flag shapes/colors on the fly. There could be color-coding for start time and whether the game had kicked off or gone final.
I'd be happy to take a stab at this if someone has an idea how to get started. I have software engineering experience but I'm just not sure where to begin.