North Carolina Patent of the Month – January 2022
Avid hockey watchers know how much better it is to watch in person. Besides the obvious benefits of being with a crowd of fellow hockey fans, and feeling immersed in the environment, a live game is also easier to see the puck. The puck flies around the rink at high speeds. Cameras are positioned far from the rink in order to get a view of the whole area. There have been improvements in puck tracking technology, but there are still limitations. SportsMEDIA Technology Corp. (SMT) has developed a new solution that may improve puck tracking.
Rather than tackling the cameras, SMT has tackled the puck itself. They have designed a hockey puck with an electronic signal transmitter at the core. This transmitter allows for instant position identification as the puck moves around. The transmitter emits an infrared light through diodes set around the circumference, top, and bottom of the puck. Infrared cameras can then constantly track the puck in their existing puck and player tracking system.
SMT has been partnered with the NHL for over 20 years, providing the technology needed to improve the show. These innovations have ranged from data management platforms to player-tracking systems.
Other attempts at puck tracking have been tested, including microchipped pucks. The league only tested these pucks for 6 days before pulling them off the ice for not sliding right. SMT’s infrared pucks have proven to perform identically to a traditional puck.
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