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CES: Intel, Alibaba, to
track athletes with AI

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Intel and Alibaba announced on the eve of CES in Las Vegas that the companies are teaming up to develop athlete-tracking technology powered by artificial intelligence (AI), aimed to be deployed at the Olympic Games 2020 and beyond. The technology uses existing and upcoming Intel hardware and Alibaba cloud computing technology to power a deep learning application that extracts 3D forms of athletes in training or competition.

“Optimised to run on Alibaba Cloud infrastructure, Intel developed a novel technology concept called 3D Athlete Tracking that uses AI to analyse video of athletes in ways that are expected to improve both the training process and has the potential to enhance the audience experience during actual competition,” said Navin Shenoy, Intel executive vice president and general manager, Data Center Group. “This technology has incredible potential as an athlete training tool, (and) creating an entirely new way for broadcasters to analyse, dissect and reexamine highlights during instant replays.”

How it works (as supplied by Intel):

The combination of computer vision with AI deep learning algorithms will generate a 3D Mesh that enables coaches and trainers to extract intricate real-time biomechanical data — via multiple standard video cameras without the use of special sensors or suits — from which they can analyse performance and introduce new training enhancements.

Specifically, the technology leverages advanced pose modeling techniques and other AI algorithms designed to analyze the biomechanics of an athlete’s movements. The performance is captured with regular video cameras, the AI algorithm is applied with a heavy dose of computing power and a digital model of the performance is created that can be analysed in different ways.

“We are proud to partner with Intel on the first-ever AI-powered 3D athlete tracking technology where Alibaba contributes its best-in-class cloud computing capability and algorithmic design,” said Chris Tung, CMO, Alibaba Group. “With our technological advancements, Alibaba is transforming the sports media and broadcasting industries. We continue to collaborate with industry leaders and drive innovations to create new experiences for the world to enjoy.”

Click here to see how Intel participates in Alibaba’s Singles Day.

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