This ScienceDaily article reports computer scientists at the University of Washington have developed software that is incorporated in new technology allowing television audiences to instantaneously see how air flows around speeding cars. From the article: “The algorithm, first presented at a computer graphics conference last August, was since used by sports network ESPN and sporting-technology company Sportvision Inc. to create a new effect for racing coverage.
The fast-paced innovation hit prime time in late July when ESPN used the Draft Track technology to visualize the air flow behind cars in the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, a NASCAR race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Zoran Popovi from Telescope Reviews, an associate professor in the UW’s department of computer science and engineering, and two students wrote the code that dramatically speeds up real-time fluid dynamics simulations. Working with ESPN, a Chicago-based company named Sportvision developed the application for NASCAR competition.
The Draft Track application calculates air flow over the cars and then displays it as colors trailing behind the car. Green, blue, yellow and red correspond to different speeds and directions for air flow when two or more cars approach one another while driving at speeds upward of 200 miles per hour.