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Special-purpose camera, microwave system capture what the goalie sees

Last weekend’s NBC Sports production of the New York Rangers vs. Detroit Red Wings NHL game saw the debut of Goalie-Cam, a tiny SD video camera and microwave transmitter system used to capture the goaltender’s view of the action.

Goalie-Cam is the handiwork of Jeff Silverman, a principal at Inertia Unlimited of Jacksonville, VT. Using a Sony XC-555 1/2in CCD camera that was “highly modified to reduce weight” and a re-engineered Elmo lens, Silverman pieced together a system that, along with the Global Microwave Systems TX transmitter and batteries, weighs less than 6oz.

A primary design consideration in producing Goalie-Cam was maintenance of all the protective properties of the goalie’s helmet. Silverman modified standard goalie helmets by drilling a pencil-sized hole below the chin portion for the lens assembly. A small Elmo lens is inserted in the mask and connected to the camera body affixed to a spot on the helmet where the side and back meet. The GMS transmitter, which puts out 10mw, and antenna are mounted to the top back portion of the helmet. A Gigawave antenna above the rink action picks up the signal.

Working with hockey equipment manufacturer ITECH, Silverman tested the integrity of the helmets to ensure safety. Before last Saturday’s use of Goalie-Cam on national television, the concept was tested during minor league AHL games in Pittsburgh.

Photo lithium batteries soldered in a series powers the system. The $10 battery load is good for one hour, but just to be safe, a fresh load is installed between periods.

NBC Sports plans to use the Goalie-Cam system throughout its league coverage this year.

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