Aussie scientists develop scoring system for boxing


Sun, May 13, 2007 - Page 23

A boxing vest developed in Australia could revolutionize scoring in the troubled Olympic sport, it was reported yesterday, after the technology was approved for further trials.

Scientists at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) and the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Research Organization (CSIRO) have developed a new system, which aims to rid the sport of contentious judging at Olympic and world amateur tournaments.

Sensors located in the lightweight vest, gloves and head protector record any blows and points are transmitted via wireless technology to a large screen for viewing by spectators, who also see the target area where the punch was registered, the reports said.

Named the Automated Boxing Scoring System (ABSS), the equipment was developed by AIS and CSIRO researchers, while an Indian manufacturer inserted sensors inside gloves.

Wu Ching-kuo (吳經國), the new president of the Amateur Boxing International Association watched a demonstration of the new technology in Bangkok last month during the King's Cup boxing tournament.

Following the demonstration, the Australian delegation was given approval to conduct further trials at the AIS.

Yesterday's Sydney Morning Herald said Wu also offered to arrange competitive bouts in which scoring would be done simultaneously with the current scoring system and the sensor format.

Taiwan's Wu was elected late last year on a mandate of reform following exposure of corrupt judging at the 2004 Athens Olympics and previous Olympics.

The existing scoring system involves judges pressing computer keys to record scoring blows.

But there have been claims that the scoring system was vulnerable to corruption, as bribed judges could repeatedly press the key of the favoured boxer.

Professor Allan Hahn, the head of the AIS Applied Research Center, said he was greatly encouraged by the success of the Bangkok trial, but admitted the system still had glitches, such as the problem of blocked or deflected blows being scored.

"A boxer scores when the glove of one boxer simultaneously impacts with the scoring area of another," Hahn told the newspaper. "A boxer can't hit his own gloves together and score but we still have a problem with blocked blows being registered. A CSIRO scientist is working with the group to exclude these punches. We think we are close to a solution to it."

Hahn also conceded the electronics need to be fully resistant to water, given that it is common for trainers to pour substantial volumes of water over boxers between rounds.