On technology, empathy, and ref-cam
We can shoot video with a pair of glasses now. With the same pair of glasses, we can also translate languages, search the Internet, find directions, and send text messages, if we are willing to pay $1500 and look a little foolish. I can’t vouch for their optical capacity. It seems like the future, but today. It’s all too fast, but we’re here.
It seems strange, then, that it’s taken until now, the point at which we can search the Internet using a pair of glasses, to strap a camera to a referee’s head to see what they see, but that is now happening in Super Rugby, in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. The footage is extraordinary and, perhaps most importantly, brings out a sense of empathy for those in charge of the game.
Referees suffer deaths of a thousand angles. Any given decision is shot from ten different viewpoints, but the referee has only one. Forget negatively weighted boots and impossibly spherical balls. Strap a camera to Howard Webb’s head this weekend as he goes out to handle Manchester United and Chelsea. There’s a real advancement. [Words by Max Grieve]