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What Is Required for RFID-based Race-Timing?

Posted By RFID Journal, 10.17.2014

How can I use RFID to track the number of laps completed in a race involving multiple bicycles, and have the data shown live on a digital scoreboard?

—Name withheld


First, you will need to purchase passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) transponders. You could use a tag designed to work on metal, but I would recommend choosing one that hangs from the top tube, such as Metalcraft's RFID Hang Tag. These can have numbers printed on them and be reused, but you will need to associate each tag ID with a specific rider.

You will then need to set up a passive UHF reader with antennas on either side of the track. You'll need to perform some testing to ensure that the tags can be read consistently. The readers will capture each tag's ID number, along with the time at which the tag was read. This data can be sent to a database or software application in XML format. Next, you will need to develop an application, if one doesn't already exist, to transmit the information to the digital scoreboard. This should be fairly straightforward. You could also display the information on a website, so that friends and family members could log in and see how a rider is doing. This is what the Boston Marathon does with runners.

—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal

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