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 correct. 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.