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RFID-Guided Video System Gives Equestrians Their Best Shot

At New Jersey's Rhythm and Blues Stables, riders and trainers view their performance on the arena's big screen, with the optimum camera angle displayed at all times.
By Claire Swedberg
Aug 28, 2007Typically, horse trainers and riders use mirrors situated around an arena to visually check the performance of their horses and themselves during practices. Trainers and riders often bring a friend to the arena to capture video footage, which they can later watch and analyze. However, at Rhythm and Blues Stables, in Allentown, N.J., riders can observe themselves without ever dismounting.

The stable is currently testing an RFID-based system that allows equestrians to watch themselves practice in arenas via cameras integrated with sensors. Developed by startup company Integrated Equine Technologies, the system consists of Integrated Equine software for controlling camera coverage and recordings, as well as RFID hardware and real-time location system (RTLS) software from Ubisense. The stable's owner, Jason Beck, is also president of Integrated Equine Technologies.


Joshua Horton
The arena is equipped with two analog video cameras, four Series 7000 Ubisensor RFID interrogators for capturing transmissions from active ultra-wide band (UWB) RFID tags attached to horses or riders, a computer running the Ubisense and Integrated Equine software and a large LCD screen.

Currently, Beck says, the tags—the size and shape of a flattened golf ball—are being attached to a horse's bridle or bit, or to a rider's garments. According to Joshua Horton, Integrated Equine Technologies' managing partner and CTO, the company is testing the application of several tags attached simultaneously to different parts of the horse. With multiple tags attached to a horse, the system can choose the best recording angle—for example, one facing the horse's head, rather than its rear.

Each tag uses the 6 to 8 GHz UWB frequency band to transmit a signal encoded with its unique ID number. The tag can transmit its signal continually, Horton says, or be set to be turned on or off automatically by a built-in motion sensor. Equine Technologies is testing both methods. The Ubisensors receive the tag data and, via a cabled link, forward it to a server running the Ubisense software. The software calculates the tag's location at that instant via the signal's angle of transmission and time of arrival, as recorded by each sensor.

The four RFID interrogators capture data from all tags in the 210-by-80-foot arena, Beck says, adding, "It's just incredible the way it works. It's extremely accurate." If a rider wears the RFID tag on a helmet and leans forward, he says, the sensors will capture that movement.

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