Thermographic cameras have become all the rage lately in the world of cricket. When properly used, these can reduce the room for error with LBW or out-caught/caught-behind decisions and can accurately determine whether the ball had made contact with the batsman's bat, pad, glove or any other part of the body.
First used in 2006-07 Ashes Test match at the Gabba in November of 2006, cricket constitutes the first sporting application currently for this technology. It is considered more accurate than the Snickometer, which relies on sound.
Picture shows no contact. Pic Grab: Courtesy BBG Sports.
Of course, the expense of setting up the two-camera solution at each match is very high (a thermographic camera goes for roughly $30,000). The technology has been made available to the third umpire as part of the referral system on several occasions but the use of this technology is by no means mandatory. Several current and former players are in favor of making it mandatory. Michael Vaughan recently was quoted on BBC Sport as saying: "the ICC should pay for the Snicko and Hotspot at every Test match venue."
TV audiences enjoy the application of this technology giving the broadcaster another avenue for advertising. In fact, spectators voted it the best piece of technology in cricket in a Cricket Australia poll in 2007. BBG's Hotspot thermographic technology got 54 per cent of the vote followed by extreme slow-motion (22 per cent), Hawk-Eye (14 per cent), Snickometer (6 per cent) and 3-tracker (5 per cent).
First invented by Nicholas Bion of France, the technology is now used for wide-ranging applications including security and defense. Nine Network of Australia adopted it for cricket and the technology is now offered by the Australian company BBG Sports.