Watch that ball! Wikimedia Commons, by Ludovic Péron

Watch that ball!
Wikimedia Commons, by Ludovic Péron

Many a good idea or work of art has started with a napkin in a restaurant. Pablo Picasso had no problem with using a simple napkin as a backdrop for a sketch that would pay his tab.  JK Rowling scribbled her first words of Harry Potter on a napkin while riding a UK train, and the same goes for the Voyager, the first experimental plan to fly nonstop around the world. And that is exactly how the Israeli Start-up, Replay Technologies was birthed. On New Year’s Eve slightly more than two years ago, Oren Haimovitch-Yogen and two brothers, Matteo and Aviv Shapira, were in a London pub watching a soccer match. The Israelis had one thing in common at the time—they were all engineers and developers working in Britain’s military drone business. Enjoying the pub scene and watching the game live on the big screen, one of them made the comment that he’d like to see the game from the perspective of the ball. The idea was hatched on the back of a napkin and two years later, the system they developed is being used around the world for for instant  3D playbacks.

Basement Headquarters

Setting up shop in a Tel Aviv basement, the team went to work building a system based on instant replays of sporting events. They began with individual events, and have now developed the system to be used in team sports. Rather than 2D images typical of sports broadcasting, their product, freeD™, offers  3D images from any angle. The system involves dozens of cameras that are erected around the stadium that, with its sophisticated software, lets viewers see the replay in 30 seconds, from all angles. It has already been used during the London Olympic games in 2012 as well as covering the New York Yankees and the NBA has signed it up for use in its All-Star Game that is coming up.

What’s next for Replay Technologies? They are tweaking the system so that consumers can stream the images live and choose the exact angles they want to see, whether it’s above the action, around it or going between the players.