How Would I Set Up a Lap-Counting System With RFID Tags for Each Competitor?

By RFID Journal

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Ask The ExpertsHow Would I Set Up a Lap-Counting System With RFID Tags for Each Competitor?
RFID Journal Staff asked 13 years ago

I need a cheap solution that is ready to develop using an RFID developer's kit.

—Name withheld


Developing your own race-timing system is probably not going to be simple or inexpensive. First, if you purchase tags in small quantities, you are going to pay more than a company that handles many races and buys in bulk. Second, you will need to spend a lot of time setting up readers properly in order to make sure you read the tags either pinned to a racer's bib or tied to their shoes. And third, you will need to develop your own software, which could prove to be costly.

Fortunately, there are a number of systems currently on the market that can be set up quickly, and that work effectively.

Chronotrack offers race-timing solutions, and has partners in many states from which systems 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., is offering 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 is offering a racer's bib with a disposable Gen 2 passive RFID tag to track a runner's time during a race. 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

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