Can RFID Time Race Horses?

By RFID Journal

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Ask The ExpertsCan RFID Time Race Horses?
RFID Journal Staff asked 12 years ago
Is a portable RFID timing system available that can be used for horse racing?

—Name withheld

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Racetracks are a challenging environment. You have to cope with rain, mud and a wide temperature range, and the system infrastructure needs to accommodate different track layouts.

The only RFID-based solution for this application that I am aware of is from TurfTrax, located in Salisbury, England, which developed and patented a transportable RFID tracking system enabling the collection and broadcast of real-time speed and positional data on horses during the course of a race. The information is used by the horse-racing, betting and media industries. Sagentia Group, a Cambridge, England-based technology consulting and development firm, designed the proprietary RFID system that could track race horses in real time.

The battery-powered 2.4 GHz active tag, installed in a horse’s saddle blanket, weighs a little less than 4 ounces and generates data up to seven times per second. The tag, which can run for as long as eight hours per charge, is reusable. The overall system can track as many as 40 horses per race. The system lets you know where each horse is, how fast it’s moving, the distance traveled and so forth.

The system employs RFID and wireless networking, so it can be deployed quickly with any track layout. The approach also eliminates the expense and disruption of burying cables or installing permanently fixed interrogators. The number of readers used ranges from 20 to 60 units, depending on a particular track’s size and configuration.

—Mark Roberti, Editor, RFID Journal

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