WNBA referree Lamont Simpson had players looking twice at him at Saturday night’s game. During the nationally televised match up between Phoenix Mercury and Indiana Fever, Simpson wore a camera attached to his head, giving pundits and sports fans a never-before-seen perspective of the game from his Ref Cam.
The Ref Cam, developed by Broadcast Games Inc. (BSI) looks similar in design to Google Glass, with the device harnessed to a pair of lensless glasses, while the camera itself is akin to a GoPro portable camera.
BSI General Manager Peter Larsson told SI.com that the idea arose from two other projects:
We were working on onboard cameras for NASCAR and also with the X-Games and married the two of them together to come up with the perfect size for referees…The whole concept is to get the viewer down on the court, get them as close as you can. Technology isn’t there to get the size down to put it on the player. So this was the next best bet.
Throughout the broadcast, ABC used the footage from the Ref Cam to give an alternative view of fouls and free throws, providing an entirely different experience for home viewers. While the Ref Cam has been used in Australia and at rugby matches in the UK, this was the first time it was used in a professional sporting context Stateside. As wearable technology becomes more advanced, we may start seeing more and more pervasive uses, changing our perspective of the world around us.
Watch the video below, and see for yourself.