Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Snickometer



Invented in the mid-1990s by English computer scientist Alan Paskett, the Snickometer is used in a slow motion display to determine whether the ball did touch the bat , even slightly to determine if it was out. Although this was used earlier in UDRS, but unlike Hawk Eye and Hot Spot currently not used in UDRS. This is also known as the Snicko.

A Snickometer works on a simple principle. Filter the ambient noise, and amplify the relevant signal. The ball hitting the bat produces a sound of a particular frequency. The stump microphone will pick up the sound of the ball hitting the bat. It first filters this sound which is of a particular frequency from all the ambient noise. This can be achieved with the help of a resonance filter. At the receiver this sound is amplified and plotted to note the variation in the sound. A sharp variation denotes the bat hitting the ball and a flat peak means the bat has hit the pad or part of the body. This plot is viewed along with the replay of the shot to synchronize the movement of the ball and the spike in plot.  So in the situation where the batsman was ruled out, a review on TV with the Snicko will accurately determine the outcome.


Advantages and Disadvantages

The technology used for Snickometer is relatively simple. It only requires a slow motion camera and good microphone which are available in any international cricket match. Thus the cost of the Snickometer is very low making it affordable to any country. Sometimes Snickometer takes a considerable amount of time to give the output. This is due to the synchronization issues of the video and the audio. But with the development of the technology the synchronization will be done automatically and the results will be available as soon as the incident occurs. 

Also the Snickometer only indicates that a contact happened. This contact may be between bat and ball, pad and ball or the bat and pad. It is up to the umpire to take the final decision. Thus this leads to inconclusive replays in some cases. But in Hot Spot it clearly shows the area the contact occurred.

Being a very simple and cheap technology it is surprising that, it is no longer used in UDRS. It can be combined with Hot Spot technology to make better judgments about LBW and Catch decisions. Out of the three technologies used in UDRS, Snickometer is the least controversial technology yet it is not even used in UDRS. And the most controversial technology is Hawk Eye which is made mandatory. The Hot Spot technology lies in between and it is made optional in UDRS. Just like humans no technology is hundred percent accurate. So always we have to use the technology wisely and improve the accuracy of decision making process to make the game of cricket more fair to both teams. 

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