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Q&A with Geoff Allardice on the Loughborough technology trial

ICC's General Manager, Cricket talks about the technology that will be an addition to Hawk-Eye to generate noise to detect edges

Q&A with Geoff Allardice on the Loughborough technology trial - Cricket News
Q-Can you please talk about the testing?
Geoff Allardice - The bat is instrumented so that the smallest vibration on the bat from contact from the ball is registered in one of the pieces of equipment. The noise generated by the ball on bat is the sound that goes into the Hawk-Eye product and they will be displaying that, and we will be comparing the results of the two to make sure that the furtherer detected on the bat itself is also detected by the stump microphone and the DRS product. 

Q-The way the testing is being conducted, what is the sort of process of events that you have been overseeing from the start to the results?
Geoff Allardice - One of the things we are trying to do at the moment is fine the test between thicker edges and really fine edges, and make sure that the noise is generated for even the finest edges and compare the results. So, the vibration sensors on the bat will indicate even a very fine edge and if the noise picks it up as well, then we know that the system will help us get better decisions in a cricket match. 

We are also interested in what the noise looks like on the Hawk-Eye ultra-edge. In the case of a glove or a pad, we will be looking at these to see what sort of noise those contacts make within their software. 

Q - What happens next?
Geoff Allardice - In this case, the ultra-edge is a product that we are looking at in introducing for use in DRS moving forward. If the results from the testing are positive, then we will probably introduce that as a tool that can be used as part of DRS officiating system.

Q – How you exactly need to look at the data and ascertain from this session?
Geoff Allardice - The engineers from the MIT have developed this swinging arm system and instrumenting the bat so that we know when very fine contact with the bat is made. What we are checking is how well the technology that used in cricket matches, matches up with what their testing system shows. If it matches up to a point where it is very consistent, then we think it is going to be useable as an officiating technology in an international cricket match. 

Q – The way it is working today is you have guys from the MIT who are providing you with this swinging arm, which is generating the faintest edges, and then the guys from Hawk-Eye are making sure that the sound they get from their stump-mic marries to up the exact moment when the ball passes the bat. Is that right?
Geoff Allardice - That’s right. It is the timing of the sound and how the sound is represented visually. In end, the third umpire would be looking at the images on the screen and if the sound is represented in a visual way that the third umpire can interpret consistently, then it is going to be useable as an officiating tool. 

This is the start of a project where we will be looking to of test all of our DRS technologies. This includes ball-tracking and edge-detection tools. This is the first of a number of testing sessions that we will conduct over the next several months to try to understand the performance of the DRS. 

Q – How important it is to have MIT involved in this testing?
Geoff Allardice – The engineers from the MIT come with a scientific background. One of the difficulties with edge-detection is to produce fine edge. To run a testing session, you need to be able to generate these very fine edges on a frequent edges. And this is what the swinging arm is able to do, just make very fine contact of ball on bat and give plenty of data samples for us to work with and to be able to assess the performance of the technology. 

It was good to have the engineers from the MIT involved because they bring a fresh set of eyes to the problem, have developed the testing apparatus and also the instrumentation of the bat so that we know that when contact is made with the bat, that it is detected and registered and, then we can compare it to any technologies that are used as part of the DRS and incorporate in the broadcast of international cricket. 

Q – How important it is to have an independent testing system in place?
Geoff Allardice - I think for a number of reasons. Just one is the fresh set of eyes to have a look at the problem, look at creative ways of producing the sort of results we are after to understand performance of these system. But also that they are not linked to any particular cricketing country or broadcaster or technology provider. They come in fresh, produce their apparatus and then they we going to be using their apparatus to test against the technologies that are used today. 

Their independence is a big factor and we have some very smart engineers working on this project and if we are able to get the results we are after, then hopefully it gives all people involved in cricket greater confidence in the DRS system.