Over the summer break of 2015-2016 the committee chose to investigate chip timing systems for the club runs. This is an exercise they have performed several times over the years, but this year, costs have reduced significantly and a system was found that adds onto our existing timing software. So WAC delved into it’s bank account and the club is the proud owner of a chip timing system.
There was quite a learning curve for our non-expert committee involving skill sets well outside any of our capabilities, however we were well guided by the Webscorer team as well as the Australian distributor of the hardware BCDS. We have to say that the hardware is amazingly intuitive and very robust.
There has been a LOT of behind the scenes testing of the equipment as well as determining just how best to place the chips on our participants, and we are sure this will be further enhanced as we continue to learn more about the system’s intricacies.
We currently have 2 main means of carrying the chips to the finishing mat for the most accurate recordings. A laminated chip that is “worn” under the inner sole of a participants runners, and a chip inside plastic tubing which is worn between the laces of the participant’s runners.
There are a few considerations we had to address when deciding on how to present these chips, and we include them below so that our members can ensure their chips are able to operate to the best of their ability (and ensure they get a recorded time).
- The chip can be thought of as a mirror, therefore it needs to present as “flat” as possible to the mats. This is why wearing it flat under the sole of the shoe represented the most accurate placement, and any problem with participants who have a high heel kick will be counteracted when each is issued with 2 chips (one for each shoe)
- Water and skin are the chip’s enemies. By laminating and placing the chips in the tubing we are eliminating water contact, however skin contact is just as detrimental to the chip’s performance. Separated from the feet by the innersole was the perfect solution in trials, however we only tested a finite number of shoes and this should be top of mind if we get any negative reads in the future;
- Physical interference. Since the chip effectively reflects the signal of the mat, any obstructions between the chip and the mat must be minimised. Thus the closer the chip is to the mat the better, far greater than a bib that may have to pass other bodies and legs to be read.
Please consider the above factors when placing your own chip, and refer back to this page, which we will keep updated with any future discoveries!