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Time measurement & video recording for track or lane sports

This site will shares software, solutions, ideas as well as video recordings made during events.

The idea for creating an easy to handle and affordable solution for electronic time recording was raised after a sports events a few years ago. Because current official IAAF time recording  systems are very expensive and mostly too expensive for small clubs to own, most of them must organize their events using manual timing by volunteers or must hire real E.T. systems that comes with trained operators.

In 2008 I organized a club championship and because we could spend our money to hire an E.T. we had to do the job with people and stopwatches. The whether conditions very bad that day. The volunteers doing finish recording were cold and soaked and once we reached the end of the day everyone was glad he/she could go home.

Due to the wet paper, bad writing and making mistakes in registration caused a sever delay in publishing athletes results and final results were not available for everyone. Once published that evening we got many complains the next day because it appeared that time recording as well as reported sequence of arrival was often wrong.

This all caused that the little lady that would have won the overall champion ship, if recorded correctly, only got assigned the fourth overall position. In other, manually clocked races, average sprinters got marks that were multiple seconds better than they actual earned. Good sprinters on the other hand got marls that were far worse than the even could expect.. Time registration of individual finisher appeared to be inaccurate but the reported sequence of arriving appeared to be not correct in many races. These mistakes in recording caused that many youngsters got the wrong marks.

In the days after I received so many complains that I decide to create an reasonably priced solution that would eliminate the human errors as much as possible.

I believe that instead of paying 15K Euro or even more for a official IAAF system or 300-500 per day for a rental you can get a system of your own for the price of only a few rental days. And important for official races, the solution as is now will be able soon to pass the Full Automatic Time (FAT) requirements as stated by the IAAF.

Full Automatic Time requirements (in short) :

  • Start time automatically (electronic measured)
  • Finish time automatically recorded (electronic measured)
  • 100 fps slit of 50 fps full image video
  • Proof that start and finish time are not manually recorded
  • A ‘finish picture’. showing passing of the finish line of all participants.

I believe that the dedicated solutions we have now has the potential to comply with all requirements. I discovered that there is just another hurdle to take first. It appears that national athletics federations, and not only in my own country, lacks capability to measure and to certify available systems. Got the impression that they can not verify whether existing systems are compliant with IAAF requirements on their own. Hence to get country specific approval to be allowed to use equipment for regional or national events can be a nasty  hurdle to take.

Strange world. Federation demands that time will be measured in hundreds of seconds at least but can not verify correctness of the measurement themselves.  Instead they turn over proof of compliance with IAAF requirement to vendors of systems.  No problem with that, we can do 😉

During development of our software and other equipment I quickly discovered that there are many other sports and activities where our solution can be used. Examples of sports where system can be used are:

  • Rafting,
  • Cycling,
  • Motor sport,
  • Breitner sport,
  • Dog races,
  • Horse jumping contests
  • Gym training for ball and other sports that require ‘quick reactions’
  • Transition training for technical sports as triathlon, karting, motor racing, etc. Improvement of movement or handling efficiency results in a shorter transition.
  • etc.

In general, any sport that use time registration as qualifier somewhere can benefit but the tool can also be used for recording some specific motions to study what people are doing and how movements could be approved. Examples:

  • High jump,
  • Long jump, where do one put his feet
  • Switching from swimming to cycling (triathlon)
  • Turning points with swimming
  • Running recording to see how well one shoes fits

Other examples are:

  • Line controll with soccer,
  • Area controls, only recording if something is happening,
  • Efficiency surveys, what are people doing and how are they doing it,
  • Machine vision and control,

Kind regards,

Jan Hoogma