Snickometer- A Technology used in cricket

Have you ever heard the term Snickometer. Around 60% of youth in India watches cricket regularly.  Each one of them has at some point wondered about the technology used for reviewing, decision making. Have you ever wondered about that graph like thing which appears when a review is taken by any team?  The graph shows whether the ball has touched the bat or not. Snickometer is the device which shows these graphs.

Snickometer was invented by Allan Plaskett, a computer scientist in mid-1990’s. This is also known as “Snicko”. Its used to detect edges from the bat using the stump microphone.

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Technology used

Snickometer uses the technology of the difference between sound frequencies of a ball hitting different surfaces. For example: A Ball hitting the bat would have a woody sound which is different from the sound produced when the ball hits pads or gloves.

 Snickometer: The Working

Snickometer has a very sensitive microphone that is located in the stumps. It records the sound from this stump microphone. This recording is cleaned up to remove the ambient sound i.e. sound from surroundings by filtering. This sound is then visualized in an oscilloscope-like thing or in a piece of music technology software which measures sound waves. If the ball hits nothing then the Snickometer graph shows a straight line. Now the point of discussion is what graph is shown when the ball hits the bat and pad. So here are graphs showing the two.

Fig 1: Ball hitting Bat
Fig 1: Ball hitting Bat
 Fig 2: Ball hitting Pad
Fig 2: Ball hitting Pad

 

The first graph shows that the ball has hit the bat. The bat which is made up of wood produces a short sound when ball hits it. So a clean sharp spike is created in the snickometer. While in the case when the ball hits the pad, the impact is spread over a longer time and the graph is obtained as shown in figure 2.

Now for the audience, the Snickometer graph and match video which is recorded by the high-speed camera are shown together in a slow motion. And we can determine by the Snickometer graph, whether the ball has touched the bat, pad or passed without touching anything.

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Uses

Snickometer technology is used in cricket matches to show the video of the ball passing the bat and matching it to the sounds captured at the same time. It is just used to give television audience more information through Snickometer. It shows whether the ball has hit the bat or not.

Unfortunately, Snickometer is not the part of Umpire Decision Review System (DRS) and the umpire does not have the benefit of seeing its results.

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