It’s a beautiful fall day here in Portland, perfect for some 8,000 participants in the Portland Marathon, an annual race, similar to other marathons held around the country.
Usually it’s a big deal for local television stations like KGW who provided live helicopter coverage of the 26 mile race in the past. Not this year. Live coverage was eliminated from “the news station”.
It was the Oregonian Newspaper Blog that provided the best “live” coverage of The Portland Marathon (map & Google Earth Tour) while RaceCenter supplied live results as participants crossed the finish line. Race Central (rccal.com) has nearly real-time Race Results. Matching some 20,000 photos to their matching bib number is still a manual process, however, and can take days even with 20 people working on it.
Judy Ikenberry, the marathoner behind Race Central, explained to DailyWireless editor Sam Churchill how their RF-ID system works (MP-3 Interview). Judy’s race victories include the first US Marathon championship in 1974 and the US 50 mile championship in 1977.
RF-ID and wireless connectivity may be opening up new vistas for event coverage. RF-ID tags cost about $.25 each and track participants with a unique id number. No batteries required. It’s a new world for sports coverage. Perhaps Web 2.0 and wireless technolgies will revolutionize coverage and expand the market. Nobody does sports on the web with more flair than Red Bull, for example.
The Champion Chip was the first widely used RF-ID system for sports. It uses a Texas Instruments Registration and Identification System (TIRIS) tag attached to each runner’s shoe.
All three automatic RF-ID systems have been approved by the USATF Road Running Technical Council.
- Antennas incorporated into rubber mats send an energizing signal to the runner’s transponder.
- Within 60 milliseconds the chip is fully powered and sends its unique identification code back to the antennas.
- The chip ID code is then passed through the antenna to the controller box, which stores it together with the time of day. The data is then read through the controller box serial link, via computer, into the scoring software.
RunScore ($250, free demo), is the world’s most popular race-scoring software (FAQ and Sample Screens). As runners finish a race, their bib number is suppied by the by the Champion RF-ID chip. Software like RunScore supports a variety of timers including:
- Chronomix 737 (www.chronomix.com)
- TimeTech Sprint 8 (www.timetechusa.co)
- Time Machine (www.timemachine.org)
The software allows organizers to sort by finishers byk bib number or alphabetic order, produce overall results, age-group results, web posting and other features. You can also customize the listings for your own needs or create new ones.
HP said that its new chip is far superior to current Bluetooth and RFID standards. The “Memory Spot” will rival RFID tags in carrying information, but HP calls it the smarter alternative.
The RFID-like chip can be attached to physical devices like hospital wristbands. The chip itself contains a modem, antenna, microprocessor and onboard memory. HP says the chip is very easy to make, very small, and applications are virtually limitless. Soon, heart rate, respiration, speed or other parameters might be linked in real-time using WiFi city clouds.
Related DailyWireless stories include; Zigbee2006, Zigbee Gets Real, Showdown at .15, GPS Watch & Tracker, Crash Recorders, Nikon’s WT-3 WiFi, EZ Photo Mapping, Bluetooth Watch Monitors Elderly, Where 2.0, Boston Marathon 2005, RFID: Where the Rubber meets The Road, Nike’s Talking Shoe, Adidas Hot Shoe, Slow Mesh Heats Up,Sensor Nets, Monitoring Mount St Helens, Meshing at Intel, Oceanographic Wireless, Earthquake Monitoring, a Seattle to Portland Wireless Network Proposal, Berkeley Wireless Research Center, The Age of Steam and ZigBee’s Low Power Wireless.