The development of the MineCam has allowed the Club to take 'armchair' caving out into the field!
This remote sensing device allows most of the team to shelter in the back of a Land-Rover (other vehicles are available) watching the TV pictures, while 1 poor individual stands (usually in the rain) by the shaft or hole in the ground lowering and raising the Minecam.
The MineCam™ Mark 'nearly' 6
The latest version of the MineCam (nearly Mark 6) consists of two high quality micro-miniature colour video cameras, together with a switchable light source that can change from a wide beam to a narrow more intense beam of light (ideal for looking along passages or holes in the walls of the shaft), all mounted on a remote controlled pan and tilt frame/head.
The light-weight assembly can be lowered up to 200m down shafts, while the TV pictures are viewed on the surface. The pictures include camera heading information (an early version was obtained from a canabilised 'Tandy' Radio Shack electronic car compass).
Underground sounds are picked up via a small in-built microphone. While other items like the presence of gas and bats can also be detected.
To help interpret the scale of objects being viewed, a laser range finder gismo has also been incorporated into the camera head.
The use of 2 cameras allows a 3d view to be seen on a pair of video glasses, this gives a much more realistic view of what is there. The amusing side-effect of this is that the person wearing the glasses tends to move their head around in sync with the movements of the camera down the shaft - it is important to keep the person wearing the glasses away from any nearby holes or obstacles!