Tracking and Measuring Objects in Obscure Image Scenarios Through the Lens of Shot Put in Track and Field

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Virginia Tech


Object tracking and object measurement are two well-established and prominent concepts within the field of computer vision. While the two techniques are fairly robust in images and videos where the object of interest(s) is clear, there is a significant decrease in performance when objects appear obscured due to a number of factors including motion blur, far distance from the camera, and blending with the background. Additionally, most established object detection models focus on detecting as many objects as possible, rather than striving for high accuracy on a few, predetermined objects. One application of computer vision tracking and measurement in imprecise and single-object scenarios is programmatically measuring the distance of a shot put throw in the sport of track and field. Shot put throws in competition are currently measured by human officials, which is both time-consuming and often erroneous. In this work, a computer vision system is developed that automatically tracks the path of a shot put throw through combining a custom-trained YOLO model and path predictor with kinematic formulas and then measures its distance traveled by triangulation using binocular stereo vision. The final distance measurements produce directionally accurate results with an average error of 82% after removing one outlier, an average detection time of 2.9 ms per frame and a total average run time of 4.5 minutes from the time the shot put leaves the thrower's hand. Shortcomings of tracking and measurement in imperfect or singular object settings are addressed and potential improvements are suggested, while also providing the opportunity to increase the accuracy and efficiency of the sporting event.



computer vision, object tracking, object measurement, deep learning, binocular stereo vision, sports