The Spanish Instituto de Biomecánica (IBV) is about to release an app that will help establish the quality of a synthetic turf football surface. IBV expects to release a preliminary version of the app before the end of the year.
Although Spain has well over 10,000 synthetic turf football surfaces, the maintenance of these surfaces leaves a lot to be desired in the southern European country. “Synthetic turf surfaces do require a certain level of maintenance to remain safe and functional as well as to prolong their lifespan to at least the minimum number of years that is guaranteed by their installing company. Unfortunately, like in many other countries, this maintenance is often done by people who lack the skills or equipment to maintain a synthetic turf sports surface,” explains Luis Sánchez Palop of IBV.
While basic maintenance of third-generation sports surfaces mainly includes removing organic material from the surface and brushing the field to maintain the upright position of the fibres and a constant and level distribution of the infill material, performing these duties does require attention and an eye for detail. Failing to do so can make the field become a hazard to players and the environment, and affect the playing experience as well as shorten its lifespan.
The idea is to use pictures to digitally assess the quality of the surface. “The infill compaction will be measured through capturing a video recording of a ball rebounce assessment after which the turf defect detection will be done by means of artificial intelligence and deep learning algorithms,” the scientist continues. “It will also be possible to use a video-recorded ball roll and artificial intelligence to analyse ball behaviour in very close detail and to detect 3D ball-trajectory. This can be particularly beneficial to companies in the synthetic turf industry. However, it has been decided to only consider this for a later release, pending the interest shown by the industry.“
The app will be self-explanatory and will guide the user through the entire process. All it requires is a smartphone.
The agility and ease of use online will allow the remote assessment of wear and maintenance conditions of synthetic turf fields. It is aimed at groundsmen, clubs and maintenance companies, as it will help the preliminary assessment of the surface. “It will save the maintenance company unnecessary travelling to the field by helping to decide the required maintenance operations.”
IBV expects to release the app before the end of this year.