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“By tracking money bundles using RFID, we’ve added features to our
existing control and graphics systems that not only help the host and
contestants play the game, but also help make the game a lot faster
and even more engaging for the viewer at home."
Mark Wass, Technical Manager, The Million Pound Drop
The Million Pound Drop
The Million Pound Drop is a live television game show filmed in the United Kingdom. At the start of the show, teams of two contestants are given one million pounds cash in 40 bundles of £25,000 and must correctly answer eight multiple-choice questions to keep the money.
The game set consists of four trap doors which each correspond to one of the possible answers. Contestants have one minute to place all the bundles of money on one or more of the trap doors corresponding to the answer(s) they believe to be correct. When time runs out, the trap doors of the incorrect answers are released, and any money that was on them tumbles away. The contestants win any money that has not been dropped down a trap door at the end of eight questions.
During The Million Pound Drop, contestants are playing on live television with real money notes. As contestants answer questions, the show updates viewers at home and in the live audience with the amount the playing team has saved and lost. In previous seasons, The Million Pound Drop relied on six on-stage cameras and behind-the-scenes personnel to count how many bundles of money players placed on each trap door. However, sometimes camera angles were unreliable and the show had to have the host manually count the bundles of money on each trap door which slowed down the speed and excitement of the game.
Cat and Mouse, the providers of the real-time graphics technology for The Million Pound Drop, as well as other popular game shows including Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, approached Harland Simon to see if RFID technology could help the pace of the game. Since the show was dealing with such large amounts of money, Cat and Mouse needed a system that was incredibly reliable. The RFID tags they chose needed to be read at any orientation, since contestants often frantically stack money in odd angles on trap doors as time is about to expire. Harland Simon’s solution, with Powered by Impinj RFID technology, provided the needed reliability for Cat and Mouse and The Million Pound Drop.
How It Works
|UPM Frog 3D RFID tag containing Impinj Monza 4D chip and Speedway Revolution reader.
Below the trap doors lies an Impinj Speedway® Revolution reader connected to four antennas custom-designed to fit under each trap door. Each bundle of money is tagged with a UPM Frog 3D RFID tag containing an Impinj Monza® 4 chip with True3D™ antenna technology. When contestants place money bundles on trap doors, the reader and antennas below register how many tags are on each trap door while software written by Harland Simon uses this information to calculate the dollar value and feeds the data back to the displays, communicating how much money contestants have saved or lost. Impinj’s patent-pending True3D antenna technology provides the omni-directional tag performance The Million Pound Drop needs to ensure all bundles of money are counted no matter their position on the trap doors.
The Powered by Impinj RFID solution provided by Harland Simon keeps The Million Pound Drop fast and exciting during the live broadcast. All of the money is reliably accounted for in real-time, and the host never has to manually count it. The show is able to show more interesting graphics of the money being moved and stacked on different trap doors, all in real-time. The Million Pound Drop has also reaped an unexpected benefit from the technology—their insurance rates have been reduced because they have better control of the million pounds during the show.
“The Impinj Speedway reader combined with the Monza chip’s
True3D antenna technology provided the high performance
and unmatched reliability our customer demanded for their
high-pressure, live telecast."
Declan Begley, Harland Simon
||In collaboration with