Intel and Alibaba have announced that the companies are developing athlete tracking technology powered by artificial intelligence that is aimed to be deployed at the Olympic Games 2020 and beyond. The technology uses Intel hardware and Alibaba cloud computing technology
The technology uses existing and upcoming Intel hardware and Alibaba cloud computing technology to power a cutting-edge deep learning application that extracts 3D forms of athletes in training or competition, Intel has stated in a write-up at its official website.
“Optimized to run on Alibaba Cloud infrastructure, Intel developed a novel technology concept called 3D Athlete Tracking that uses AI to analyse video of athletes in ways that are expected to improve both the training process and has the potential to enhance the audience experience during actual competition. This technology has incredible potential as an athlete training tool and is expected to be a game-changer for the way fans experience the Games, creating an entirely new way for broadcasters to analyse, dissect and re-examine highlights during instant replays,” says Navin Shenoy, Intel executive vice president and general manager, Data Center Group.
Intel and Alibaba, together with partners, aim to deliver the first AI-powered 3D athlete tracking during the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. The partnership seeks to provide athletes with new training data and analysis and provide fans insight into how world-class athletes perform and compare against one another.
“We are proud to partner with Intel on the first-ever AI-powered 3D athlete tracking technology where Alibaba contributes its best-in-class cloud computing capability and algorithmic design,” said Chris Tung, CMO, Alibaba Group. “With our technological advancements, Alibaba is transforming the sports media and broadcasting industries. We continue to collaborate with industry leaders and drive innovations to create new experiences for the world to enjoy.”
In a deviation from sensors or special suits used for players 3D tracking, the new technology uses standard video cameras to generate AI 3D images of the players. The combination of computer vision with AI deep learning algorithms generates a 3D Mesh that enables coaches and trainers to extract intricate real-time biomechanical data via multiple standard video cameras. The 3D Mesh enables experts and broadcast presenters analyse performance and introduce new training enhancements.
Specifically, the technology leverages advanced pose modelling techniques and other AI algorithms designed to analyse the biomechanics of an athlete’s movements. The performance is captured with regular video cameras, the AI algorithm is applied with a heavy dose of computing power and a digital model of the performance is created that can be analysed in different ways.