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Visually impaired fans can hear detailed coverage of the Australian Open through the action audio live stream powered by Hawk-Eye

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Andre Cohen


Blind and visually impaired fans can follow Australian Open matches via a new live audio stream called Action Audio. The broadcast converts data from Hawk-Eye ball control system into sounds to decipher action on the court, such as where a ball is hit, ball speed and type of swing – paired next to play-by-play commentary and crowd sounds from the TV show.

A high beep will sound to indicate a forehand and a low beep for a backhand. Another sound will sound when a ball hits the sideline or the baseline – three beeps means the ball is close to the line, two beeps when the ball is farther from the line and one beep when the ball hits the center from to research. A loud jingle sounds when a player hits the Ball, Who gradually fades as the ball moves.

Sounds come out of the left speaker when the ball hits the left side of the pitch and from the right speaker for right side hits, so this is imperative for a user to have headphones or speakers that separate left and right ear sounds. Action Audio value was initially tested during the final of the Australian Open 2021; this is the first year aall matches will be to be directed throughout the tournament.

“Everything is like, oh yeah, that’s the last piece I’m missing,” said Michael Marshall, a visually impaired tennis fan from Melbourne. The New York Times. “It gives you those clues that you never really had before.”

Tennis Australia has partnered with digital design agency AKQA and Monash University to develop the 3D sound system. According to the NYT, Audio Action of the Australian Open attracted listeners from around 70 countries.

Machar Reid, head of innovation at Tennis Australia, told The Times he would like to see Action Audio integrated into broadcasts of other sports using optical tracking systems. MLB uses Hawk-Eye cameras to power its Statcast system, as well as its automated ball-striking system being tested in the minor leagues. The NBA, WNBA, and the NFL are among other leagues using Hawk-Eye cameras.

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