March 5, 2006 The FIFA World Cup has inspired more than a few brave plans for the employment of technology over the past few years, many of which never materialised. One that will be on show when the world descends on Germany in June and July is Servingo, a personalized portal designed to help the three million expected visitors to find their way around the twelve World Cup venues from Berlin to Munich. Every conceivable aspect of information related to the tournament is aggregated through the portal which was built at a cost of eight million euros with a view to helping World Cup visitors feel that they are "visiting friends". The portal is amazing, with a range of innovative features such as personally-tailored information systems and personal diary pages, but the highlight is the 3D reconstruction of scenes from the soccer match that enables the viewer to view a replay of key scenes from any point in the stadium – from the referee's perspective or the eyes of the goalkeeper. To make this possible, the team constructed 3D models of stadiums and compiled catalogs of players. An ingenious software program manages to generate the scenes from TV images. Sophisticated algorithms compare the 'visual template' of the virtual 3D players with the TV image and keep adjusting the virtual player's posture until it matches the video image. In this way, picture by picture, a scene from the match can be reproduced from any angle.
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