New basketball uniforms keep score, tally fouls
Basketball vests with luminescent displays that show key game information — including which players are close to fouling out — are being tested in Australia, researchers say.
The vests can also show how many points a player has scored and the amount of time left in the game, developers at the University of Sydney said Wednesday.
"Team sports uniforms already communicate information visually," developer Mitchell Page told New Scientist magazine.
"We wanted to augment the existing team sports uniform model to communicate more relevant information, such as a player's stats and performance."
The colour display panels are attached to each vest and are connected to a computer about the size of an iPod attached to the player's body.
The computer receives information wirelessly from the central control system installed at the side of the court, which keeps track of all relevant statistics as the game goes on.
TeamAwear — a short form of "team sports awareness wearable display" — puts the information in a position where it will be most useful. Fouls are recorded on colour display panels on the shoulders to allow referees to see which players are in danger of fouling out.
The time left on the clock is located on the panels on player's chests, allowing a player to see from his opponent how much time he or she has left to shoot.
A panel on the back of the vest shows the game score.
For the National Basketball Association's Toronto Raptors, it's an invention that has come four years too late.
In the fifth and deciding game of a 2002 playoff series with the Detroit Pistons, one-time point guard Chris Childs heaved an awkward three-point shot while attempting to draw a foul in the dying seconds because, as he later told reporters, he thought the team was down by four points. They were only down three points.
Basketball was chosen as the test sport for the technology because the game information changes rapidly and less physical contact is allowed.
"We would like to try them in a professional game situation and see the results," Page said.