Wave of the Future Print E-mail

A new invention by a Villanova University professor could transform televised sports.

Main Line Today
March 29, 2010

It’s embedded in Ed Dougherty’s DNA. His maternal grandfather—an electrician on the Pennsylvania Railroad—designed and patented a cattle catcher device for trolley cars that automatically slammed on the brakes. Growing up in Overbrook, Dougherty fiddled around with motors, switch relays and vacuum tubes from 1940s radios—so much so that his parents pegged him as a blossoming engineer.

Flash forward 50 years. As a visiting assistant engineering professor at Villanova University, Dougherty offers his pearls of wisdom in a “Technology and Innovation” undergraduate course. He’s also the mad scientist behind the Wavecam, an aerial camera system built to pan, tilt and zoom, all while “flying vertically” across football fields, basketball courts and hockey rinks.

Dougherty's original goal was to take existing aerial robotic technology and make it deployable on a mass basis for use in the broadcast industry. Wavecam made its debut in 2008 with Villanova basketball and Penn State football. It was first installed at Villanova's Pavilion. Then a second system was put into the school's football stadium. Wavecam Media has supplied live HD feeds for Wildcats basketball on ESPN and for football on Comcast SportsNet and the Versus network.

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