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BlogsAsk The Experts ForumHow Can I Use RFID to Track the Number of Laps Competitors Complete During a Race?

How Can I Use RFID to Track the Number of Laps Competitors Complete During a Race?

Posted By RFID Journal, 10.15.2014

And how easy would this be to do?

—Name withheld


This would actually be relatively easy to do. You would simply install readers at the starting line and give folks tags to put either on their shoes or their bibs. There are companies that offer off-the-shelf systems, though you could certainly build your own if you had the software-development resources. Here are some firms offering out-of-the-box solutions:

ChronoTrack Systems offers race-timing systems and has partners in many states from which such solutions can be rented (see RFID News Roundup: RFID Keeps Time With Seattle Marathon Runners and UHF Solution Tracks 42,000 Runners at the New York City Marathon).

Innovative Timing Systems, a startup company located in St. Louis, Mo., provides an RFID-based race-timing solution that it claims is more dependable that any other currently on the market (see Startup Offers 'Fail-safe' RFID Race-Timing System). The company's Jaguar Race Timing system employs EPC Gen 2 passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID inlays and interrogators manufactured by Alien Technology.

SAI Timing and Tracking makes a racer's bib with a disposable Gen 2 passive RFID tag to track runners' times during races. According to the company, the system has been employed at marathons in Las Vegas and Los Angeles, with a 99.84 percent read rate (see Gen 2 Tags Track Runner, Motorcycle Speeds).

Orbiter offers an RFID lap counter, as well as other race-timing products.

—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal


Barry Allen 2014-10-16 12:43:39 AM
Zone4 is probably the global technology leader in this space. Our club uses their stuff to score all of our cross country ski races. They are a small company but growing fast and have an impeccable track record plus some very cool technology. http://www.zone4.ca
Kurt Hansen 2014-10-16 07:54:28 PM
Feel free to visit our web site to learn more about lap timing. We've been around since 2008 and have over 420 timers around the world now. Mark was mostly right in his comments about us. We actually have about 14 different types of tags, including our own designs, and we have specialized tags and software just for lap events. Reading tags sounds easy until it rains, becomes coated in mud, becomes damaged, is placed on a metal surface, or goes by at 180mph. We've spent years perfecting our engineering and many of our timers that do lap events often tell us they experienced 100% read rates, or close to that. When looking for a system, be sure to look for a company that has at least 5 years of proven experience in lap events. Look for someone who has software specifically for lap events. Then look for a company that makes tags for lap events, which are often on bikes. Tags often see far more abuse when used in lap events. Select a vendor who offers great support including on Saturday and Sunday...race days for most of us. Finally select a vendor that is highly profitable with at least 100 timers in their family. Size, experience, support and a strong track record really do matter. Chronotrack and MYLAPS also make quality systems and if you visit their sites, you'll also find some good information. Between the three of us, you'll find a solution that should meet your needs. If you decide to make your own system, take a look at the Alien reader family. They make a terrific product and their training Academy is the best in the world when it comes to RFID development...at least in my opinion. Good luck! Kurt Hansen CEO & Founder of Innovative Timing Systems www.innovativetimingsystems.com

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