The Hatching Winner Challenges Play Calls

Lansing’s live pitch competition finds a winner in sports innovation project, Pylon

When looking back at sports history, fans can find arguments of bad calls being the determinate of their big team winning or losing certain matchups. Big or small, these misjudgments by officials of their respective sports are simply attributed to human error; and while many of the professional sports use video technology to re-determine the accuracy of call made by the naked eye, they too have flaws.

At this year’s The Hatching, an entrepreneurial awards showcase sponsored by The Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP) and Spartan Innovations hosted The Hatching on Oct. 26, 2016 at the Lansing Brewing Company, one team lead by Eddie White, looked to make further advancements on the issue at hand. What was known as Pylon, went on to win the coveted event’s grand prize to highlight innovation and encourage new business to emerge.

In almost every professional sports league, the request to review a play’s outcome comes with what is known as a “challenge.” This is particularly important in football, where head coaches have the decision to throw out a red flag when they feel a call was inaccurately made by officials; ultimately requiring a “review of the play.” The National Football Association has taken advances towards strengthening this policy by automatically reviewing each touchdown at no cost to the coach’s bank of red flags. However, because of body placement, camera angles, crowds and more, the ruling on the field can still be placed up for review.

White’s innovative technology aims to eliminate these components for error by placing cameras directly inside of pylons placed in the end zone, used as markers for scoring. With the addition of these cameras that would operate freely without the need for an operator and would be less likely to be obscured as they lay directly parallel to the action. These ring familiar to what was implemented in the MLB for judging baseline calls for batters reaching first base. A sport birthed on tradition that had a bigger scuffle when attempting to introduce technology as a preservative of play accuracy and efficiency.

While this is a victory for Pylon, it serves a greater purpose in the way this award inspires a community of entrepreneurs to bring their ideas to fruition. The Grand Prize of $1,000 in funding to start the project is a great opportunity for young ideas. At The Hatching’s October edition, the Pylon project was met with fierce competition in each category but ultimately prevailed as the winner of this year’s competition, thanks in part to how easily it executed solving the issue as hand.

“Pylon came out the winner of a very competitive Hatching event. What stood out from Pylon’s presentation was how simply and clearly he identified the problem, who it affects and how his solution fixed it. The core components of a great pitch,” said Tony Willis, director of New Economy at LEAP.

The next Hatching event takes place on Nov. 16 at the Lansing Brewing Company. Submit ideas now at thehatching.org for consideration in the upcoming event. For more information about The Hatching or how entrepreneurs can submit ideas to be considered for the live pitch competition at one of the monthly Hatching events, visit thehatching.org.

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Adam Lansdell

Adam Lansdell

Adam Lansdell is a Grand Valley State University alumnus, and currently a Communications Specialist with M3 Group of Lansing. With a passion for all things creative it comes as no surprise that he’s also a musician, movie buff and graphic designer. Adam spends his down time biking, and spending too much of his personal income on concert tickets or vinyl records.

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