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Electronics firm transforming the tech of sports broadcasting

PUBLISHED: 12:29 12 June 2018 | UPDATED: 15:09 12 June 2018

A cameraman shooting footage at a sports event Picture: Timeline Television Ltd

A cameraman shooting footage at a sports event Picture: Timeline Television Ltd

Archant

A collaboration between University of Essex and a Colchester electronics firm aims to revolutionise the way that sporting events like the FIFA World Cup and the Formula One Grand Prix are broadcast in the future.

Matthew Evans of Aber Electronics in Colchester  Picture: Matthew EvansMatthew Evans of Aber Electronics in Colchester Picture: Matthew Evans

Matthew Evans of Aber Electronics, an RF (radio frequency) and microwave design specialist based on Church Lane in Stanway, is six months through a two year partnership with University of Essex to transform the way that pictures are transmitted to our television screens during live stadium broadcasts.

Aber Electronics claim to manufacture the smallest and best performing RF amplifiers on the market, and their products are already used by the BBC on radio cameras at events such as the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea. Mr Evans explained that by harnessing Essex University’s expertise in electronic engineering, his project will create a high bandwidth and data rate radio frequency product that runs via optical fibre, which he hopes will speed up transmission and smooth out errors. “Currently people use fibre at sporting events and stadium concerts, but through the old school analogue system,” explained the 23 year old Essex University graduate, of Colchester’s Hythe area. “It’s the broadcast signals picked up by satellite dish that’s the radio signal. So at Formula One for example, the cameras transmit pictures which are picked up by antennas, fed by optical fibres, processed remotely and then broadcast to our television screens.”

Mr Evans claims that the digital system he’s working on is more robust. “Its cutting edge science, and of course its very exciting,” he added.

The project is scheduled to be completed in December 2019, and Mr Evans hopes to see his technology being used at the next FIFA World Cup in Qatar in 2022.

Mr Evans is working with Professor Stuart Walker from Essex University’s School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering, who described the knowledge transfer partnership (KTP) between the university and Aber as a “marvellous opportunity” for a recent graduate to challenge an industry challenge head on, “with regular academic supervision and guidance.” “We’re keen to support Aber’s business growth and product development plans during this project and beyond,” he said.

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