Laser Leader Line Utilized Again At 2014 NCAA Track And Field National Championships
The Laser Leader Line returns to this year’s 2014 NCAA Track and Field National Championships on June 11-14 at historic Hayward field on the University of Oregon Ducks campus in Eugene, Oregon. First Down Laser is the in-stadium and industrial use graphics company with 5 United States Patents Awarded and 6 United States Patents Pending in Laser Delineation Systems and Methods. The laser’s inventor and company founder, Alan Amron, chatted again with the Sports Techie blog, this time while in Utah at his new mining clients site, about their pioneering sports technology business development. The fan experience on television when watching sporting events at home on a big screen HD TV and seeing the TV- only graphics is enhanced and helps viewers know exactly what is going on in each live event.
NCAA TRACK AND FIELD NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS
Amron was working on a sports tech biz dev campaign back in 2013 when the USA Track and Field Foundation contacted First Down Laser Systems about the possibility of them utilizing its laser line technology in sports for track and field. They said track and field events don’t get the attention they deserve and bringing FDLS’ in-stadium graphics to the events would help enhance fan experience overall.
First Down Laser designed a track and field laser leader line system, and demonstrated it for the University of Oregon Athletic department and the NCAA track and field organizers. Watch the dropbox video demo link:
Immediately recognizing the value and first rate class system it was, the NCAA track and field organizers and University of Oregon officials invited First Down Laser to do the June 2013 Shot Put, Javelin, Discus, Long Jump and the Triple Jump events live. Amron, developed the technology, then did several demos for the NCAA at Hayward Field in early May and got the green light from Vin Lananna, University of Oregon Athletic department and TrackTown USA CEO Michael Reilly to set up for nationals.
Instrumental in rolling out this new technology were Mark James, a USA Track & Field Foundation Board Member, and Vin Lananna – also a board member. James described the added technology as “very popular with fans and athletes” and called the laser a “first-rate product.”
The laser itself is mounted on a customized rig on the Hayward Field grandstand so it can switch easily from one event to another. A three-man crew is strategically placed on the field with a radio, up on the roof of Hayward Field’s west grandstand, and also at press row operating with a laptop while the proprietary state-of-the art laser system projects the real-time leading mark in field events onto the venues field.
At field level the laser’s top crew, radios the best mark to the press row person who updates the data into their laptop. For safety purposes, the third operator watches the laser beam from the roof and can turn off the sports tech laser should it be needed. The fact is, if the laser were left on, there’s no safety issue with it both during the day or at night.
For now, the laser is showing just the leading mark, but Amron says that’s just the first step. In the future, the lasers could show world records and personal bests in addition to leading marks. The possibilities go well beyond track and field as well.
“I don’t think there is a limit,” Amron said. “I think you could use it in all different sports and industrial applications, it can be used in delineation markings in any area… Lasers are most always being used at night, we’re the first people to really take a laser and start using them during the day for delineation. ”
See the image below here from that successful first time laser use for delineation in sports history ESPN broadcast.
Leading Mark Lasers Make Debut at NCAA National Championships in 2013
Actually, Wednesday’s women’s javelin competition was the first time an in-stadium laser system was used globally in a live sporting event.
LASER LEADER LINE INVITED BACK BY NCAA TRACK AND FIELD NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS NEXT WEEK
You are invited to witness first-hand how this new laser leader line technology is enhancing the overall fan experience in sports, one event at a time. June 11-14, 2014 – NCAA Track and Field National Championships at Hayward field location on the University of Oregon’s Eugene campus. For more information please contact Alan Amron at (516) 224-7666.
Please note: First Down Laser ® plans to demonstrate its football first down laser line, for those interested University and NCAA officials that are on hand for this weeks National Championships. You are also invited to cover this planned demonstration.
Sports Techie, Congrats to the NCAA for pioneering the laser line at your Track & Field Championships, it is a historical sports technology achievement. Alan is the kind of founder you want listen to because he is enthusiastic about his sports tech invention, he’s very intelligent and is easy to speak with. We have become friends over the years and I value his perspective when we talk and have learned a great deal from him. Amron is very excited about the mining opportunity because it is a new Industry with more financial potential than sports. As they continue to grow and bring in more revenue, the plan is to expand into other revenue streams and further developing his patent technology to match the needs of new customers such as airports.
I asked about space as another business development opportunity and whether his patents apply there since Virgin Galactic and SpaceX are on target to launch their private rocket ships by the end of this year or next. I think I caught Alan off guard a bit but since he is quick on his feet he discussed the potential possibility with me indicating if there is a need, laser line will fill it even if his current patents are not enforceable in outer space.
Drones mounted with laser line are in the works together with SportsDrone.com. Drones will eliminate the need for cables and wires. Larger drones can carry bigger payloads and can fly in the air for up to 2.5 hours. They are manufactured with four propellers and use GPS tech to fly with precision and accuracy. A drone controller has a failsafe in that should something happen to the unit, it will automatically shut down and travel back to its launch point and land safely, saving operators the cost of replacing damaged unmanned drones. Read more about #dronesinsports here.
They upgraded their system since we last spoke. The customized rig uses a 100 watt laser this year as opposed to 75 watts used last year, making it more accurate, brighter while producing a fatter line. With the sharper lines comes added safety benefits. The laser now requires a 48 volt power source which can run on three or four car batteries. The company began five years ago with 220 volt requirements and three phases, since then they have tweaked their newest prototype to use a 110 volt, single phase configuration saving substantial costs to end uses.
He has a crew of six to power the laser for ESPN in Eugene this year. The laser line system is leased to schools and operators are trained by his staff after a one-time fee. Alumni funds have been used by colleges to pay for the product and services. Sponsors of laser line cannot be used for official NCAA events. I personally feel this is an old school rule that is place to protect the NCAA logo but if Papa Johns or Gatorade wants to pay the NCAA to put their logo on the system, why not take the free money.
Athletic Directors are invited to learn more about laser line for their football programs. Michigan State and LSU have used the laser in practice but cannot do so in games without NCAA approval. Since Notre Dame is not an NCAA team they actually have leeway to implement the sports tech at their leisure, says Amron. The AFL is nearly on board as a user and the CFL might go forward with using lasers during their next Grey Cup Championship game. High schools are interested in this laser line but cannot seem to justify the costs yet. Alan pledges to lower costs as revues increase. Players rave about it because they can see the 1st down line on the field, eliminating the need for human chain gangs.
How Roger Goodell Can Realistically Improve The NFL Product – Implement First Down Lasers via Bleacher Report, AP photo.
The Track & Field Nationals broadcast on ESPN next week will emphasis three days of track events and eighteen minutes of Field events. Shot put and javelin require a curved arc line as opposed to a straight line for the long jump and triple jump events. Laser line will help fans in attendance and those watching on TV or using digital devices, see the lines better while taking the guess work out of it.
While the NFL sits back and waits on this game changing sports tech, laser line continues to biz dev other paying opportunities you will find out more about in future blogs. Perhaps the Olympic Games will soon be calling about your wares. Our gratitude goes out to Amron for the latest laser line information and images. NFL legend, Pat Summerall, would be happy with his laser line investment.
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