U of M Raptor Center Utilizes Z-Cart by Z Systems For Remote Video Learning


By Frederick Gotfredson


The University of Minnesota Raptor Center, part of the College of Veterinary Medicine, is world-renowned for medical care, rehabilitation, and conservation of birds of prey. When they needed a video system for their remote learning program, they chose Z-Cart by Z Systems – An HD mobile video production system.


Z Systems Raptor Center Main Image
Students at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine perform rehabilitation work on an owl, with video of the entire procedure streamed live as part of a remote learning program.

The University of Minnesota Raptor Center is an internationally recognized institution that provides care and rehabilitation for eagles, hawks, owls, and falcons.  It was established in 1974 as part of the U of M’s College of Veterinary Medicine. The Raptor Center rehabilitates about 800 sick and injured raptors each year, and also helps identify environmental issues related to raptor health and populations.  The Raptor Center also educates and trains veterinary students and veterinarians from around the world in the fields of raptor medicine and conservation.

As part of a remote learning initiative at the College of Veterinary Medicine, the Raptor Center required a solution that would allow them to capture surgical procedures on video and stream them live using a specialized, web-based remote teaching software suite. They found that Z-Cart by Z Systems was the perfect solution for their needs.


University of Minnesota Raptor Center Video System Output
The Sony SRG-120DU captures images in resolutions up to 1920×1080 at 60 frames per second. It has a USB connection, which allows for plug-and-play functionality with any computer with a USB 3 port.

Z-Cart Raptor Center Full ViewOne of the primary requirements of this live production system was portability. The procedures could take place in various locations, so Z-Cart fit the bill, with its design based on a sturdy adjustable-height cart, manufactured by Ergotron.

The web-based software suite utilized by the University learning system was designed to work with standard PC webcams, so the Z-Cart was outfitted with a Sony SRG-120DU PTZ (Pan-Tilt-Zoom) camera by Sony that features USB 3 connectivity, allowing the user to plug the camera directly into the USB port of a laptop, while providing crisp images with resolutions up to 1920 by 1080 and frame rates of up to 60 frames per second.

Another one of the requirements of this system is that the camera had to be elevated fairly high above the subject, so that students could see an unobstructed image of procedures taking place. Once again, Z-Cart was the right choice, as it includes a 36-inch double-reinforced articulating arm that easily supports weight of the camera. A lightweight accent light provides a soft light for more balanced and clear video images.

Finally, Z-Cart features an uninterruptible power supply to insure that in the event of a power failure or spike, the equipment would be unaffected, and there would be enough time to power the system down and prevent hardware damage or data loss.


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