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Computer-Assisted Judging Tested at Gymnastics World Championships

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scan of gymnast for computer-assisted judging

Scanning and computer-assisted judging may safeguard against the pitfalls of human judging.

On the eve of the 2019 gymnastics world championships in Stuttgart, Germany, the 527 participating athletes were asked to consent to a scan by multiple laser sensors to create a precise, three-dimensional image of their bodies.

Those images, in turn, are being used to improve the accuracy of a so-called "judging support system," developed by Japanese IT giant Fujitsu, that's being used for the first time in the competition.

The expectation, pending approval by the International Olympic Committee, is that the technology — in which artificial intelligence helps human judges score gymnastics routines — will be used at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

And it may presage the day when computers replace human judges entirely in the largely subjective sport, although that is not the plan "for now," officials said.

At these world championships, computer-assisted judging was used on a limited basis on four of 10 events: men's vault, pommel horse, and still rings, and women's vault. Moreover, it was used only for the "D" score, which reflects a routine's difficulty, and not the "E" score, for execution.

From The Washington Post
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