Smart Footballs and Smart Gloves at the Steelers Game?


January 14, 2009

Imagine the NFL playoffs with referees who don't make mistakes. While human experience may never be replaced by computing, officiating at the game will change significantly in the future if ECE Professor Priya Narasimhan and her research group have their way.

In a recent NPR interview, article in Wired magazine, and a Pittsburgh Post Gazette video, Narasimhan talks about her football fanaticism and all the ways in which things like embedded GPA and accelerometer systems can improve the accuracy of referee calls.

Working with real footballs and real player's gloves, Narasimhan's students are working on creating practical, esthetic prototypes by next year. The immediate goal, says Narasimhan, is to get the equipment out to real athletes and let them "kick the tires," make recommendations on how to improve the equipment and "tell us how to improve it so we can actually start to use it in the real world."

Narasimhan caught football fever when she moved to Pittsburgh and fell in love with the Steelers. We can't think of a better introduction to the sport.

Narasimhan would like to acknowledge the students that are working on the project with her: Michael Chuang, Adam Goldhammer, Justin Beaver, Xunnan Fu, Dan Dancescu, Benjamin Koopman, Avni Jhunjhunwala (graduated), Austin Buchan, Evan Mullinix, Michael Soto, Steven Elia, Tao Yang.

Headshot of Priya Narasimhan

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Priya Narasimhan