Disputes over line calls are endemic in the tennis world, from friendly club games to top-level professional matches. While high-level players have had the luxury of using automated systems like Hawk-Eye, amateurs have had to rely on subjective judgments that sometimes devolve into shouting matches. However, an affordable new device promises to halt such disagreements for good by using computer-vision technology to make line calls in real time.
The In/Out device, developed by Silicon Valley-based French inventor Grégoire Gentil, is the size of a small camera, as reported by CNN.com. The system is simple to use, and can be set up in less than one minute by assembling it, placing it on top of the net post and allowing it to calibrate to the court. Best of all, the In/Out is priced at just $199, making it available to players at every income and skill level.
Gentil told CNN he is applying computer-vision algorithms devised for self-driving cars to the challenge of making line calls. He compared the method that Tesla cars use to detect markings on roads to the process he is using to sense the lines on tennis courts. Gentil’s In/Out website claims the device operates with 99 percent accuracy, delivering calls with an average precision of 2 to 3 centimeters.
Using an Android and iOS app, In/Out can provide high-definition video playback of gameplay. The app also delivers statistical analysis, including shot placement, speed and ball spin rate.
The system eschews cloud-based vision technology that can impede performance, instead conducting AI processing within the device. The In/Out employs using a computer vision “CV1” chip that resides between the image sensor and the main processor.
Although Gentil is an avid tennis fan, his site said the In/Out also will be applied to other sports including squash, badminton and basketball. The device will be available this summer, according to Gentil.
Tyler Schulze is vice president, strategy & development at Veritone. He serves as general manager for developer partnerships, cognitive engine ecosystem, and media ingestion for the Veritone Platform. Learn more about our platform and join the Veritone developer ecosystem today.