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Video Camera Captures Athletic Images and Performance Data

INCA camera (Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits)

INCA camera (Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits)

A new type of video camera developed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits in Erlangen, Germany captures images of athletes as well as real-time data on their performance. Fraunhofer plans to demonstrate the INCA intelligent camera at the International Broadcasting Convention in Amsterdam, 7-11 September.

The small INCA camera (pictured left), measuring 2x2x8 centimeters, can record high-definition, broadcast-quality video images, and has a series of sensors providing data on the athletes’ position, physical condition, and ambient factors. For example, the camera can capture a marathon runner on video, while recording the runner’s position with a GPS, acceleration, and immediate outside air temperature.

INCA can also be configured to connect via wireless Bluetooth or WLAN protocols, to an athlete’s heart monitor and record pulse and heart rate. Fraunhofer says INCA can be fitted as well on a helmet for recording action sports and news reports where protective headgear is needed.

The system’s electronics is based on the Open Multimedia Applications Platform (OMAP), a processor developed by Texas Instruments for mobile devices that supports wireless connectivity and power management. The camera’s software runs off the Android operating system that includes algorithms for error correction and compression of high-def videos.

Fraunhofer’s group manager Wolfgang Thiem says, “The core issue was figuring out how to house such a massive range of functionality within the tightest space,” which he says the OMAP processor makes possible. OMAP acts as INCA’s central processor, something like the CPU on a home computer. “The difference is that additional function blocks for various tasks have been integrated into the OMAP,” says Thiem. “Without these blocks, the system would neither record HD video images nor process and issue them in real time.”

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