If so, who offers out-of-the-box race-timing solutions?
Yes, absolutely. This is a very common use of RFID. In fact, the technology has been used in marathons around the world. 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).
• The organizers of South Africa’s 120-kilometer (75-mile) Dusi Canoe Marathon used RFID tags affixed to watercraft to assess the safety and speed of competitors during a rigorous race, as well as readers positioned along the course. The system employs passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID tags from Tadbik and readers supplied by RFID Race Timing Systems (see RFID Navigates South African Rivers in Kayak Marathon).
• And Orbiter offers an RFID lap counter, as well as other race-timing products.
—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal
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