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Camera Robot Tracks Its Moving Pictures Via RFID

Move 'N See is using ultra-wideband technology from DecaWave as part of its indoor positioning and robotics solution, Pixio, enabling the automatic filming of moving athletes or other individuals.
By Claire Swedberg
Jul 01, 2015

French robotic video company Move 'N See is adding RFID-based real-time location system (RTLS) technology to its automated video-tracking product for athletes. The Pixio robot, which operates a camera mounted on top of it, uses location data derived from RFID-enabled wristbands worn by the athletes. The result is an automated method of video-taping individuals as they move around a field, arena or other area, either indoors or outdoors.

The technology was intended to make it possible to record video of a moving person (such as a surfer or cyclist) without the need for someone to operate the camera. Eric Willemenot, a sports and video enthusiast with a background in satellite technology, saw a need for a solution that would make it easier to record video of athletes in action. Prior to launching the company, he recalls, he would often take videos in difficult places, such as using a helmet-mounted camera to record his fellow athletes as they skydived.

"Video tools are growing fast, and video use is growing fast," Willemeno states. "But the problem is you need a cameraman behind the camera, and often there is no one available." He founded his company in 2012 to develop robots that would take on the job of following an individual's movements. The resulting videos could then be used for training purposes, as well as for promotion.

Move 'N See launched a GPS-based product in 2013, Willemenot says. The initial product uses satellite locations to capture an individual's position based on a relatively large device worn on his or her arm, which receives GPS signals and transmits the user's GPS coordinates to the robot.

The GPS solution, known as E-Fullmotion, is still in use for outdoor applications, especially for scenarios in which an athlete may be a considerable distance from the camera and its robot. Customers have included surfers, wind surfers, kayakers, horseback riders, cyclists and skateboarders. In some cases, the customers have been the athletes themselves, while in others, a school or trainer purchased the system.

However, for indoor sports or other activities, the solution was not suitable for some situations. GPS doesn't work indoors, and its location accuracy was insufficient for some applications. Therefore, approximately two years ago, Move 'N See began working with DecaWave, an Irish firm that makes ultra-wideband (UWB) transceiver chips that can be used for RFID and RTLS applications, to develop the Pixio solution. The system consists of an RFID wristband with a rechargeable battery and DecaWave's DW1000 UWB chip, which complies with the IEEE 802.15.4-2011 (UWB PHY) standard.

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