Cyclops (computer system)
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Cyclops is a computer system co-invented by the British inventor Bill Carlton of Great Britain and Margaret Parnis England of Malta, which is used on the ATP and WTA professional tennis tours as an electronic line judge to help determine whether a serve is in or out.
The system, which must be activated by the service line umpire before each serve, projects five or six infra-red horizontal beams of light along the court 10 mm above the ground. One beam covers the good (short) side of the service line and others cover the fault (long) side. If a served ball hits the first beam, the other beams are turned off, while a long serve will break one of the other beams. A long serve is indicated by an audible signal. Obvious long serves that go beyond Cyclops' beams are called by the service line umpire. The system is tuned before and during each tournament by a representative of the company which rents the system. This representative stays through the tournament and confers with tournament officials afterwards to determine any problems which may have arisen. The system has been constantly refined to improve accuracy, although no statistics on its efficacy are available.
The Cyclops computer system was introduced to the Wimbledon Championships in 1980 and the U.S. Open in 1981, and was also used at the Australian Open. In 2007 it was removed from Wimbledon's Centre Court and Court No. 1 to allow the use of the Hawk-Eye system first introduced at the U.S. Open in 2006. At the present time Cyclops is not used in any capacity at any of the Grand Slam events.
A famous moment involving Cyclops occurred at Wimbledon in 1980 when Ilie Năstase got down on his hands and knees to talk to the equipment to argue an "out" signal.
- Roberts, John. Cyclops has company as machine moves to replace net cord judge. The Independent (23 November 1995)
- Greenman, Catherine. For U.S. Open Tennis, a Service Line Umpire That Never Blinks. The New York Times (August 31, 2000)
- Sport Academy: Cyclops and speed guns BBC website
- Smith, Stevie. Cyclops ousted by HawkEye at Wimbledon Tennis News (April 25, 2007)