A brief history of timing

Electronic timing is older than most people imagine and was used for the first time more than a hundred years ago at the 1912 Stockholm Olympics. Initially, the well-known telecom company Ericsson was tasked with developing the technology, but it was the Swedish inventor Ragnar Carlstedt who eventually delivered the final product. Using his expertise in electromechanics, he developed a system where reference clocks automatically started at the firing of the gun.  Continue reading A brief history of timing

Photo finish with the iPhone 7+, 8+, X

This entry complements the ”Zoom and add-on lenses” post below and is therefore relevant also to those who don’t have an iPhone with dual camera. The main disadvantage of using an iPhone/iPad for photo finish is that it has a wide-angle camera. You have to stand pretty close to the finish line and the relative distance to the different lanes varies quite much. This means that it is difficult to set a slice width that is optimal for all runners.

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Understanding the photo finish

Photo finish images are becoming more common. And since they are not what they might seem to be, so some explanations might be useful. The following is, therefore, a description of how a photo finish is created and interpreted. It is hopefully useful both if you want to time an event yourself, or if you just are an interested spectator that want to understand the photo finishes that are published.

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A battery powered router for Start Sender

Start Sender is a convenient way to send the starting time from the start to Photo Finish at the finish line. The problem is that the direct communication between two devices has a limited range (30m-40m) and to cover, e.g. a 100 m race you need an external WiFi network. And that is not always available outdoors in a stadium. A solution could be to set up a temporary router, and since there might not be a power plug nearby, it should preferably be a battery powered one.

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Making a long sound cable

Using the sound from e.g. a starting gun is the most accurate way to start the clock in SprintTimer. A problem, however, is that the start often is so far away that the sound drowns in the background noise. To transfer the sound to SprintTimer at the finish you can use a microphone with an extension cable or a Walkie Talkie. If you have two devices and access to a network you can also use Start Sender. But a stable and accurate solution for distances up to 100-150 m is a sound cable.

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Improving Photo Finish images with zoom and add on lenses.

All iPhone and iPad cameras have fairly wide angle lenses. This means that you must stand pretty close to the participants to fill out the image when recording a Photo or Video Finish. Sometimes this is an advantage (e.g. indoors), but in most cases, it is the opposite. In many water sports like rowing and kayaking, it can be difficult to get close to the finish line. And if the participants have different lanes, like in a 100 m sprint, standing close makes it impossible to set a slice width that fits all runners. This because the runners move with very different speed as seen by the camera.

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