Professional billiards players across the globe may find themselves back at the table sooner than expected as two Aussie companies have come together to create a solution so players can compete – without even being in the same country.
Perth-based Foresense Technologies has created two prototypes of the CUED Blackbox, a product that maps the location of the balls on a table in one location and projects it onto a second table with minimal lag.
At the same time, it enables the live-streaming and broadcasting of the game as it is played.
As the pandemic hit, CUED partnered with the WPA to research and develop an AI solution that would keep the game going in the face of restrictions on venues and tournaments.
CUED then approached Foresense to combine the company's experience in industry-specific AI and webcasting solutions with CUED CTO Brad Robinson knowledge of digital and physical pool-billiards to develop the unique technology.
The Foresense AI platform is guided by algorithms that have been developed to meet the World Pool-Billiard Association’s requirements for World Championship and Pro Level Pool-Billiards for all variations of the game.
The solution promises a new way for at least one live sport to make a comeback with professionally commentated broadcasting for fans worldwide.
“The CUED System is a multi-faceted technology that introduces new ground-breaking ‘incredibly accurate ball placement capabilities’ in addition to providing a content hub for streaming to a live global audience,” Robinson explains.
Once the Australian-developed product is commercially ready, it will be shipped out worldwide as the WPA gets tournaments back underway.
Foresense CEO and co-founder Glenn Weiland says that this tech has potential to reach beyond pool-billiards and revolutionise other global sports.
“The future potential is huge. Here we can combine elements of e-sports, online gaming and professionally sanctioned real-world play. There are many areas within cue sports – from professional levels right down to amateurs and recreational – that can use the CUED system in exciting ways," he explains.
WPA president Ian Anderson also sees the product as “an affordable pathway for aspiring cue sports athletes to reach the professional levels without enduring the prohibitive travel costs that prevent many talented players from competing.”
Foresense and CUED are currently working to potentially roll out Foresense sensors that will assist pool table venue owners and their patrons during COVID-19 and after restrictions are eased.
Pool Billiards is played regularly by over 200,000,000 social, amateur and professional players and there are more than 12,000 pool rooms in the US alone.