This is the time of year that sports and tennis fans have been looking forward to as it’s the time when they can all get together to enjoy the action that Wimbledon brings whilst stuffing their faces with strawberries and cream and washing it down with Pimms.
Traditionally Wimbledon has been one of the most inconsistent Grand Slams when it comes to playing conditions thanks to the Great British weather. Technology has already played a vital role at this year’s tournament, well at least on center court, as there is now a retractable roof which is closed as soon as any signs of rain are seen. This allows play to continue, where as in past years play was forced to stop temporarily while the courts were covered and protected from the rain until it was clear again. This was very frustrating for both fans and players.
Another tradition which the sport in general has gained a reputation for is the amount of noise, specifically the grunt sounds, which is produced from the players, typically the female athletes. In 2009 former women’s Wimbledon Champion Maria Sharapova recorded an astonishing 105 decibels, making it the loudest shriek known in the sport. When the roof is over the court, the shrieks are found to be amplified somewhat. It now appears that even these disturbing screams can now be controlled thanks to an impressive piece of downloadable software known as the NetMix tool.
This tool from Fraunhofer allows online listeners of the BBC radio station Radio 5 Live to regulate the sounds, by adjusting how much or how little of the on-court noises they wish to hear whilst still maintaining the same level of commentary sound. The way it works is simple, as it’s an easy-to-use audio mixing slider, which separates the commentary from the on-court sound, allowing the choice of which the listener would like to hear more of.
The technology was issued from the company for free after several complaints concerning the amount of screams accompanying this year’s tournament were brought to their attention from broadcasters. Fraunhofer will be hoping for a positive reception to their technology as further job opportunities in broadcasting, not just in sports, could arise from this. What do you think of this NetMix tool? Will you be using it? Let us know if it benefitted your enjoyment of the sport anymore.