Robotic Cameras Learn To Follow Basketball

By Ian Chant

We’re getting used to the idea of robots taking our jobs in fields like manufacturing, but should a courtside cameraman for the NBA be worried? Until recently, that seemed like a safe gig to stay in human hands. But last weekened, Disney Research scientists reported that they’ve made strides in teaching automated cameras to track the action of a basketball game the same way a human camera operator does.

While AI-operated cameras are not exactly groundbreaking, there’s a lot of room for improvement in the systems. That’s especially the case when it comes to fast-paced events like basketball games. Training a robotic camera to simply follow the ball results in jerky camera motions that can make a game hard to watch. That’s a concern for Disney, which owns ESPN and has a vested interest in presenting live sporting events at their finest.  …[Read more]