UW football’s secret weapon: Helmet-mounted QB cams

Keith Price and his helmet-mounted camera. (Red Box Photo)

College football season is just around the corner, with The University of Washington set to kick off their home opener this Saturday. If all goes as planned, sophomore Keith Price is set to take the snaps against Eastern Washington.

And a Seattle startup company played an interesting role in that very important QB decision.

Before UW Coach Steve Sarkisian chose Price to fill Jake Locker’s very big shoes, he wanted to make sure that the his young recruit could handle the pressures in the huddle. And to get an inside look at Price’s command of the team, Coach Sark chose a lightweight, helmet-mounted camera from Seattle-based Contour.

In the most recent issue of Sports Illustrated, Sarkisian explains that the helmet-mounted video camera provides a unique perspective on the game.

The Contour camera won’t be on the field on Saturday. (We doubt it is allowed by NCAA rules). But it is something that Coach Sark plans to utilize in future practice sessions, telling SI that it is a “technology that we will be using in the future.”

Keith Price and Contour's camera (Red Box Photo)

In fact, the arrival of the Contour camera on the Husky practice field is a bit of a homecoming. After all, you may recall that the company — formerly known as Vholdr and started by Huskies’ Marc Barros and Jason Green — won third place in the UW business plan competition in 2003.

The $20,000 Barros and Green won set the entrepreneurs on the path to create Contour, which now employs 60 people.

For the most part, the Contour video cameras have been sold to adventure seekers looking to chronicle their tricks (and crashes) on the ski slopes and mountain bike trails.

But the company — just named as one of the top 10 fastest-growing privately held companies in the U.S. by Inc. magazine — could also find a home on the gridiron. Barros tells GeekWire that the helmet-mounted cameras have also been used at University of Notre Dame and at the NFL’s Pro Bowl.

Leave it to a bunch of ski bums turned tech geeks to help resurrect UW football.

So, what’s it really like behind center? Here’s the video of Price running some plays at the Spring training game earlier this year.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Devin-Miller/100001051294818 Devin Miller

    That is very cool!  Nice job Contour!  Marc and the team have done some great things over the last few years.  Keep up the great work.

  • http://www.barnettassociates.net/ Toby Barnett

    Now that is the coolest thing to hit football since the cable cameras brought us closer to the game. I wouldn’t be surprised if TV networks try to live stream cameras as package deals similar to NASCAR.

  • craigk

    Great stuff….I can see tons of training material as a result technology for the young QB.

  • Roy Cone

    I don’t think the camera would survive being hit by a linebacker’s helmet.

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