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Gee, I've gone virtual!

Published:

Virtual Coin Toss Lets Football Fans Watch The Flip

by Travis Larchuk

 January 10, 2010

 All Things Considered

 The eCoinToss system's virtual coin. Courtesy of Dan LaRue

The eCoinToss system creates a virtual coin for fans to watch on a JumboTron as the referee's real coin flips.

January 10, 2010

For decades, the coin toss at the start of every football game has been obscured from fans' view.

Inventor Dan LaRue was fed up.

"We'reseeing six little people, very far away, doing something in the centerof the field, and we can hear the ref talking about it, but we cannotsee it," he says.

So he decided to take action. He invented a system called eCoinToss.

Itconsists of a special coin embedded with technology similar to what'sinside a Nintendo Wii controller. The chip wirelessly transmits dataabout the coin's position to a computer. The computer synchronizes thisdata with a virtual coin displayed on the stadium's JumboTron.

Theresult: Fans can watch the coin flip through the air live, as ithappens, and even see the outcome of the toss before the ref does.

"Thisis a great way to take those 30 seconds of time that we can'texperience very well, and give the audience something very clear up onthe JumboTron," LaRue says.

Steve Ehrhart, director of theLiberty Bowl, helped give the eCoinToss its big break in 2009, andbrought it back again for this year's game.

"In the age oftechnology, we're always looking for a better way to do things,"Ehrhart says. "I hope it spreads. It was a very effective way ofgetting the 62,000 fans who were in the Liberty Bowl stadium there toparticipate in the coin toss."

Watch How It Works

This promotional video from eCoinToss.com shows their virtual coin in action.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=122398194&ft=1&f=1001

Entry #133

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