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Counting Football Players to Avoid Penalties - Student Design Competition 2012

Contact Information

University: North Carolina State University

Team Member(s): Chris Edge, Stephen Tourigny, Eric Rodriguez

Faculty Advisors: Jim Carlson

Email Address:

Country: United States

Project Information

Title: Counting Football Players to Avoid Penalties, United States

A penalty is given out for football teams trying to start a play with more than eleven players on the field. With this is mind, our project can be progressed to prevent this penalty in the future. The system we designed can count players on a still image and indicate whether there is more or less than eleven players or the correct amount of eleven.


Laptop PC, Logitech C920 HD Webcam, NI LabVIEW Student Edition 2012, Vision Assistant, and Vision Acquisition.

The Challenge:

The obective of this project is to count football players on the field to avoid penalties. Although it can be used for many applications, the concentration of this project is to help the home team. Other applications could include officials using the technology to avoid review and accurately identify penalties. In an era of no-huddle offenses and frequent substitutions, teams are frequently penalized for extra players or left at a disadvantage for too few players. If the players could be counted electronically, it would rid the team of this easily avoidable penalty and ensure the team is never short players. In the even that there are more or less than elven players, personnel should be notified.

The Solution:

Our system takes a picture from a preferred place and angle of a football field. LabVIEW processes the image from our webcam and results are displayed on a user-friendly screen on the front panel. The front panel displayed in Figure 1 below displays the image acquired from the webcam and on the image red squares are placed around each football player. This panel also has a counting indicator that shows the number of players within the picture as well as three LED indicators associated with the number. A red LED will turn on if there are more than eleven players counted, a yellow LED will turn on if there is less than eleven players counted, and a green LED will turn on if there are the correct amount of players of eleven on the field. Also, various image processing control are included on the front panel to help calibrate the system. The LabVIEW software used in our project was helpful for our image processing. The Vision Acquisition module enabled us to receive an image from our webcam and use the image with LabVIEW code. The Vision Assistant included many image processing algorithms that helped us analyze still images. These modules and algorithms amount to an immense amount of code and without them this project would've been even more time consuming.


Figure 1. Front panel display