Super high-speed tracking camera can follow a ball at ludicrous speeds (VIDEO)
posted Tuesday, June 18, 2013 at 12:51 PM EDT
If you've ever done any sports or nature photography, you know that tracking a fast-moving object as it flies across the sky is incredibly hard. It doesn't matter if it's a baseball or a seagull, trying to keep your subject in frame is major challenge. But a lab at the University of Tokyo is developing an inriguing, new imaging system that can track a fast moving object at all times, keeping it perfectly centered on screen.
Developed by the Ishikawa Oku Lab, the tracking system features two mirrors, one for pan and one for tilt. Rather than trying to move the lens or sensor, it rapidly adjusts these mirrors at high speeds, enabling it to lock on to faster moving objects than a traditional tracking rig might be able to do. And since the mirrors are independent of the camera body, the system could even be used on large recording rigs.
This high-speed tracker measures the location of the subject 1000 times per second, allowing it to accurately keep centered no matter how bizarre the motion. The video below shows off just how well it performs, tracking a table tennis ball as it bounces and swings. It can even be paired with a projector for mapping images on to fast moving objects.
The lab is hoping to get the technology out into sports fields for broadcast in the next two years. If successful, it could making tracking baseballs and golf balls as they fly across the sky that much easier.