BOSTON, Massachusetts, Jan. 27 /PRNewswire/ - Auto-Ref Inc. owner of
sophisticated technology designed to bring more accuracy to the game of
tennis, announced today from the Australian Open that it has received the U.S.
patent 6,816,185 for "System and Method for Judging Boundary Lines". The
exclusive U.S. patent covers technology relating to an optical line monitor
for tennis matches.
"Auto-Ref has been pursuing this all-important patent for more than four
years," said Auto-Ref CEO Peter Szirmak from the Australian Open. "This takes
us one step closer to becoming the provider of choice for tennis matches, both
as an officiating aid and for broadcast purposes."
The Auto-Ref(TM) system first made international headlines following the
high profile Serena Williams-Jennifer Capriati match at the 2004 U.S. Open. At
this time, the Auto-Ref(TM) system was also undergoing its official evaluation
by the International Tennis Federation (ITF). In October 2004, the ITF
returned its official report on Auto-Ref(TM)'s effectiveness. The report based
its findings on three core areas - practicality, accuracy and consistency. The
report confirmed that Auto-Ref(TM) is capable of an accuracy of within four
millimeters, and that all decisions made by the system during testing were
The system was further demonstrated at the Bell Challenge in Quebec City
in November 2004. Auto-Ref(TM) ran simultaneously with existing line calling
but was NOT used as an officiating aid in the tournament. Canada's premier
sports network The Sports Network (TSN) also used Auto-Ref(TM) instant replay
for its broadcast of the tournament's final match. This marked the first time
the technology was broadcast by a network as part of its sports coverage.
The industry's most prominent associations attended the Quebec tournament
for the express purpose of monitoring the technology's performance. Those
groups that closely monitored the tournament included the ITF, The Women's
Tennis Association (WTA), Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) and the
United States Tennis Association (USTA).
Mr. Szirmak says in addition to leading-edge line-judging, the
Auto-Ref(TM) system provides instant, animated video replay from various
angles. "The system captures every shot digitally, and provides a broad range
of statistics that can be instantly displayed and analyzed. The TV-quality
output can then be fed to networks and to big-screen displays for spectators
at events. These advanced capabilities significantly enhance the information
and entertainment value for all involved," Szirmak adds.
The Auto-Ref(TM) system uses patented technology that combines high-speed
cameras and advanced software algorithms. The system optically tracks the
flight of the ball during play. Its sophisticated software then maps the exact
point of the ball's impact relative to the court lines, providing real-time
determination of whether the ball is in or out. The officiating aid can
operate in several modes, from instant video replay for chair umpires to full
line calling mode.
Incorporated in 2000, Auto-Ref Inc. is headquartered in Canada. While its
first product focuses on the world of tennis, its technology is readily
transferable to badminton, volley ball and other sports.
SOURCE AUTO-REF INC.