The Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany, from 4 to 13 October represents a milestone for the project of the judging support system utilising artificial intelligence (AI) and 3D sensors, which is being jointly developed by Fujitsu and the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG).
For the first time, the system will be officially used in an FIG competition as an additional tool for confirming difficulty scores on four apparatus.
Specifically, the superior jury – the judges who oversee the competitions – will have the possibility of recourse to the judging support system to review gymnasts’ exercises in cases of inquiry or blocked scores on the Pommel Horse, Still Rings, men’s Vault and women’s Vault.
The FIG and Fujitsu Limited began their collaboration in 2017, with the aim of setting up a real-time judging support system that is fair and accurate.
The two partners carried out technical verification at the 2018 Artistic Gymnastics World Championships, held in Doha, Qatar, leading to the FIG’s decision to implement the judging support system at the next World Championships in Stuttgart this year.
Following successful tests made this year at the Tokyo All-Around World Cup in April, and at the Junior World Championships in Gyor, Hungary, in June, the FIG Executive Committee gave the green light for this official debut at the 2019 Artistic Gymnastics World Championships for four apparatus.
FIG president Morinari Watanabe, an advocate of this project, hails it as “a big step towards the future:.
He adds: “The people we must always have in mind are the gymnasts. They dedicate their youth to this sport, which gives them dreams and sees them flourish. We cannot accept that all those years of hard effort and all those dreams can be destroyed by a single judging error. Scoring controversies must become a thing of the past, and the technology that Fujitsu has been developing will reinforce trust in judgement.”
Fujitsu executive vice-president Hiroyuki Sakai comments: “We are pleased that our judging support system will be officially implemented at the 2019 World Championships in Stuttgart. Through this opportunity, the FIG and Fujitsu will continue to create value for Gymnastics, further accelerating our co-creation activities to develop the discipline and promote the global sports business.”
Developed by Fujitsu and Fujitsu Laboratories, the judging support system utilises artificial intelligence and 3D sensors to capture each gymnast’s movement and analyse it as numerical data. It offers a three-dimensional digital view of the performed elements, with a variety of selections for angle measurements, all of which helps to deliver a fair and accurate judgement.
The Fujitsu support system will be used by the Superior Jury in addition to the Instant Replay and Control System (IRCOS), the video replay system used by the FIG in Artistic Gymnastics since the 2005 World Championships. Both systems present significant benefits for the review of gymnasts’ exercises.
The FIG and Fujitsu have been working to further develop this new technology, and plan to expand its application to the other six apparatus in Artistic Gymnastics. The FIG sees significant potential in the technology developed by Fujitsu, not only in the matter of judging, but also in the future for education, coaching and training. The data provided might help to enhance gymnasts’ movements or correct body posture, and thus aid in lowering the risk of injuries.