Supramolecular-Electronic Ball: From Fiction to Fabrication

Nandhini ReddyCorrespondent IMay 11, 2009

"Mr. Third Umpire, I hit his pad before I hit the bat."

Ever imagined a ball capable of disclosing to the umpire its route from the point of release to the wicket-keeper's hands—a ball with the potential to rule out controversial umpiring decisions? Fictitious, isn't it? Not really!

Welcome to the world of supramolecular electronics.

A supra-molecule in chemistry denotes those molecules that are held together by non-covalent bonding. The most critically acclaimed carbon nano particles fall into this category, as well.

The process of constructing electronic circuitry at nanoscales from these supra-molecules is underway. Sheets of electronic circuitry as thin as cellophane tapes will become a reality once this research turns out to be successful.

Such circuits can be customized into cutting edge friction detection sensors and wrapped around the cricket ball without affecting its size, shape or texture. These sensors might further be programmed to transmit data in accordance with the amount of friction they experience.

The values would vary with the point of contact. The bat, pads, pitch, wickets, and outfield would induce varying degrees of friction and a variety of data.

The third umpire can arrive at accurate decisions with the order of values of data transmitted by the ball thus averting the "pad first or bat first" controversies. 

Disputes arising out of catches taken at close proximity to the ground can be resolved. The application can as well be extended to caught-behind decisions.

Of course, the ball will not be capable of literally voicing its opinion; it will aid indirectly with arriving at precise decisions.