'Tennis is well-known for arousing plenty of passion from players on the court - and now competitors at Wimbledon can expect to have their tense facial expressions or celebratory body language examined by an artificial intelligence robot.
Wimbledon’s AI machine will use visual image recognition technology to capture players’ reactions in order to instantly clip highlights for viewers to watch at the end of the game.
In its 49th year, the Championships is using “more AI than ever before” to capture the best bits in a match, including analysing the players body language through a live video stream and measuring the crowd noise through a microphone in the umpire’s chair.
The robot, named IBM Watson, can pick up anything from an agonising grimace to a celebratory cheer - prompting him to automatically clip that point in the match. Each point is then ranked based on crowd excitement and player gestures, enabling the team of 180 people based in Wimbledon’s AI bunker to “automatically generate” the best moments for highlights in just two minutes.
This year, for the first time, IBM Watson has been taught “to understand the strike of a tennis ball on a racquet.”
“This allows us to clip the highlights package to be really tight, so it knows exactly when play is happening,” Sam Seddon, head of IBM’s AI unit at Wimbledon, told the Telegraph.
“We asked ourselves how do we create video content that’s available really quickly?,” Mr Seddon said. “What are the most exciting moments in a match? You can sit there as a digital editor in a match and make that decision yourself, or you can turn that question over to an AI system.
“Then we had to define what exciting is - well, let’s listen to how excited the crowd are, let's look how animated the players are, let’s analyse the data and see whether this is a turning point in the match and use of that to generate highlights.'
Read more: Wimbledon AI robot will examine players' facial expressions to instantly decide best bits of every tennis match
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