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Saturday, March 26, 2011

MicroPower at AutoClub Speedway for Auto Club 400

Tomorrow I am leaving at 3am from San Luis Obispo to drive down to Fontana in order to be there by 9am. Why would I do this, you ask? For NASCAR.

MicroPower Technologies was asked by one of the race teams to outfit their pit crews with the MicroPower Mini-i camera. For those of you that haven't heard, the Mini-i is a ultra compact, wearable, always on IP camera that can stream VGA video at up to 30 fps for up to 14 hours without a charge.

So why do we need to go to the race before we install? "Discretion is the better part of valor." A couple of years ago HauteSpot provided wireless routers to Med Media who used them for emergency medical communications at the NASCAR race at the Poconos race track. We learned first hand that car racing is very, very high tech. There were radios on every conceivable frequency and there were a whole lot of them.

We saw radios used for Electronic News Gathering (sports broadcasting), video on the cars, video in the pits, audio between the pit crew chiefs and the drivers, audio to the cars, WiFi in the grandstands, telemetry to the cars, public safety radios, and who know what else. If there is one event that is fully saturated from an RF perspective, it is a modern NASCAR race.

So, we are going right into the center of the storm to check out the conditions. I am bringing with me a netbook loaded with analysis software, a WRAPDXCi-MN router that will be used for spectrum analysis and to act as a proxy for the MicroPower hub, a HauteSpot GPS device, a battery pack and miscellaneous parts. The idea is to check out the RF noise floor and make sure that we can come up with a plan to deploy the Mini-i cameras without being disrupted by the din of other devices and to make sure that the Mini-i does not disrupt some other critical service.

If all goes as we plan, we will have a complete characterization of the race event under real world conditions. Then we can plan for success, using an appropriate deployment strategy. Stay tuned. We will be crossing the finish line shortly.

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