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Virtual Coin Toss Lets Football Fans Watch The Flip

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Virtual Coin Toss Lets Football Fans Watch The Flip

Technology

Virtual Coin Toss Lets Football Fans Watch The Flip

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TRAVIS LARCHUK: I do.

GUY RAZ, host:

Travis Larchuk, one of our producers here on the program, you have the answer.

LARCHUK: Yes. And I think that this could be one of the biggest innovations in sports technology of the decade, by which I mean from 2001 to 2010.

RAZ: You mean from 2000 to 2009.

LARCHUK: No, the real decade.

RAZ: Okay. So describe this for people who did not see the Liberty Bowl.

LARCHUK: Right. So every football game begins with a coin toss, and whichever team wins it gets to decide who kicks off first. But watching the coin toss is boring.

Mr. DAN LaRUE (Inventor): We're seeing six little people, very far away, doing something in the center of the field, and we can hear the ref talking about it, but we cannot see it.

LARCHUK: All right, so that's Dan LaRue. He's an inventor, and he saw this problem, and he came up with a solution.

RAZ: A solution.

LARCHUK: Yeah. So, have you ever played the Nintendo Wii, you swing a plastic controller around and you're pretending to play tennis on TV.

RAZ: No.

LARCHUK: But you know about it.

RAZ: Yeah.

LARCHUK: So it works kind of like that, except you take the technology that makes the Wii controller work and you put it into the referees coin.

Mr. LaRUE: When the ref tosses the coin, there is data coming from that coin to a computer. The computer calculates the height and the spin rate of the coin and projects that on the display using computer graphics.

RAZ: Okay. I'm not sure I got all that.

LARCHUK: Well, I'll demonstrate. Let me empty out my change purse.

RAZ: You carry a change purse?

LARCHUK: Don't judge me, Guy. You see this quarter that I'm holding up right now?

RAZ: Yup.

LARCHUK: All right. Now, say we're on the field at the Liberty Bowl and I'm the ref. Now, as I move this quarter around, there's a 3D virtual coin up there on the JumboTron that's moving in the exact same way that my coin is.

RAZ: So as your coin is spinning through the air, I can watch a computer version in real time flipping on the JumboTron.

LARCHUK: Exactly. And you can even see which side the coin lands on before the ref does.

RAZ: This is ridiculous. Why would anybody ever invent this?

LARCHUK: Well, it's the age-old story, Guy. If you can get everyone in the stadium's eyes glued up there on the JumboTron during the coin toss, you could put an ad up there and make some money.

RAZ: Of course. That's one of our producers, Travis Larchuk. Travis, thanks.

LARCHUK: No problem, Guy.

(Soundbite of music)

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