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Sun 02-Jan-2011 21:11
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The Squinting Eye
'He's talking through his helmet!'
Don't laugh – it could happen in the world of hurling
Has the GAA laid down stringent specifications related the wearing of helmets by hurlers? We may soon find out. Two young women, who five years ago were crowned Young Scientists of the Year, have come up with a development whereby the team manager and players can communicate with one another while the game is in actual progress.
Basically the helmet of each player is fitted with a single earpiece that he can plug into the ear of choice. On the bar of the helmet at a level with his mouth is a miniscule microphone. A microchip and tiny battery are fitted into the helmet.
On the sideline the manager has a folding table on which a laptop is placed. He's wearing a headpiece with mike and hearing device linked to it as he walks up and down the sideline. OK - he can call out to a player who's within easy hearing distance. But most players are not. And it's worse if there's a lot of noise from a capacity crowd.
In that case, the manager simply goes to the laptop, taps in the individual's player's two-digit code on the keyboard, then hits the space bar. This activates the player's earpiece and mike.
“John, John, wake up. Your man is drifting away from you all the time.”
Away in the far corner the back wearing the yellow helmet is seen to move his lips. “OK,OK, ” he answers.
Ten minutes later the keyboard is tapped again. “Matt will you for Jaysus sake let Tommy break down the ball. Don’t be getting into the aerial scramble. Wait for it and pick it up.”
The midfield player nods and says “All right – got you”
And it continues during the game.
“Don’t let your man annoy you, Jack. He wants to get you sent off. Take no notice of the hoor.”
The player answers. “He’s giving me a hard time. Shout at the referee, will you.”
When the few brief words have been exchanged the player's communication facility is deactivated.
Apart from instant and clear communication the system prevents damage to the voice of the manager. Several managers have had to have specialised medical treatment of their soundboxes and vocal chords, strained from yelling and shouting during the course of a game.
However, it’s not all that simple. Naturally enough it will end up with the two rival managers with communications laptops at their disposal, tapping away at the keyboard and talking to the players during games
What if some smart Young Scientist comes up with a way of jamming the frequency being used by the rival? Nothing but an ear-shattering “WAH, WAH, WAH” comes out of the earpieces of the players.
Then there’s the cunning business of being able to hack into the rival's frequency, to imitate the voice of the manager and to pretend to be giving instructions. “You’re not able to mark your man. You’ve to come off. Right now.”
What confusion and bad temper such a scenario would arouse! That's why the GAA will have to set down regulations about the use of communications systems in helmets.
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