Part 5: Future Forays
The question I get the most often is, “what’s next?”, or really far-fetched ideas on how to improve upon the concept. So far I’ve received these ideas, and I’ll list them in order of increasing likelihood.
- Overlay the entire rink with individually-addressable lights and use overhead cameras or location sensors to locate the puck. Using a computer, communicate with the LEDs and emit light directly under the puck. This could also be extended to illuminating persons, and even more so have each team identified with an RFID chip and have their own unique colors. (Credit: Patrick)
- Build a digital scoreboard display with LEDs on one side of the rink, and hook it up to a computer that would allow updating the scoreboard with team names, time, and/or goal count.
- Trace the NHL regulation lines and circles with appropriately colored LEDs, such as center ice, goalie crease, faceoff circles, and center, offside and icing lines.
- Trace the outline of the rink with white LEDs, which would possibly eliminate the need for overhead lighting.
For now all these are hypothetical; the last 2 are quite possible and would require investment of $100-250 or so each, depending on how elaborate we would decide to go. I am pondering the first one for what they call a “Capstone Project” during my third or fourth year of university, since it is very closely related to my electrical engineering career. Prohibitive cost and compounded chance of failure are the main challenges with this idea, and these would make it very risky for a graded project.