Rugby Close to "Ballcam"
BBC Sport - Wednesday, 21 November, 2001

Televised rugby could soon be revolutionised by a new and innovative concept: a "ballcam".

Experts at the Otago Polytechnic in New Zealand say they are close to developing a minute camera that can fit inside a rugby ball.

It would be able to provide television viewers live pictures from various situations, including scrums, rucks and mauls.

One of the developers, Peter Brook, said he the idea was prompted after watching the All Blacks struggle in line-outs.

"We got talking about Anton Oliver (All Blacks hooker and captain) throwing the ball in crooked," he told the Otago Daily Times on Wednesday.

Weight problems

"We thought 'wouldn't it be good to see on the screen what the ball sees as it goes into the line-out?'"

So far, the camera is only able to produce a faint blurry black-and-white image.

Although the camera itself weighs only 14 grams, the battery which powers the unit weighs 60g.

The combined total of 74g would affect the balance of a rugby ball.

But Brook is confident he can improve the picture to standards suitable for broadcast standards and reduce the weight of the battery.

"We'll knock the socks off the rest of the world if we can get this out," he added.