The next generation in RFID timing

The next generation in RFID timing has arrived and is now available for timing races! For 2016, we have two new options for timing events: Race|Result and ChipCard.

Race|Result is a high precision active tag system that is available upon request and is shipped from Colorado. ChipCard is our own system that was developed and customized using RFID technology from Impinj. Both systems are compatible with CrossMgr software.

Race|Result is an RFID timing system designed in Germany, and provides ten times higher accuracy than any other active chip RFID system. Using a higher frequency 2.4ghz signal compared to the 350mhz signal used by other active RFID chips or 900mhz passive systems, the Race|Result system achieves incredible 1/1000 second timing precision.

The Race|Result system also provides increased flexibility through the use of a single timing loop on the ground, which can be extended up to 12 meters (36 feet) to cover even the widest 4-lane finish lanes.

While J-Chip and Race|Result rely on finish times generated by the RFID receiver, ChipCard utilizes the high precision event timer (HPET) in Windows to provide much higher resolution to the ChipCard finish time.

The Race|Result hardware is also supported by CrossMgr, making it the ultimate timing system for any bike race.

In addition to Race|Result and J-Chip active tags, we also provide our own ChipCard passive tag RFID timing.  The ChipCard provides a number of unique advantages over J-Chip and Race|Result active tags:

  • low cost, so there are no fees for lost or missing ChipCards.
  • the racers bib USA cycling license/account number can be assigned and printed on the ChipCard, allowing the same tag to be used at different events.
  • The ChipCard antennas can support very wide finish lines, up to 60 feet across, while active tags are limited to the antenna mat width, currently 24-feet for J-chip or 35-feet for Race|Result.
  • no overhead truss, ground mat or cables are required, so ChipCard can be used for wide finishes or roads open to traffic.
  • used in conjunction with CrossMgrCamera to provide visual confirmation of finishing order through time-stamped finish line photos.
  • there is no battery in the ChipCard, so there is no lifetime limitation on their use.
  • we have 500 ChipCards on hand with bib numbers 100-499 printed on them.
  • we have our own ChipCard printer with the ability to customize and print unlimited ChipCards on request.

Starting in April 2018, CrossMgrImpinj has been upgraded to support a new method for reading chips using quadratic regression (QR.) When the chip is read 3 or more times while passing the antenna, QR calculates the chip position in front of the antenna, resulting in 6-inch precision in front of the antenna. Initial testing shows that over 90% of the tags passing the antenna are read more than 3 times.

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2 Responses to The next generation in RFID timing

  1. Dalibor says:

    This article is very nice – compares various RFID systems. But I am missing the time precision of passive UHF RFID sytems. What is typical and maximal precision of these systems?


    • The Impinj passive tag reader cycles through antennas, alternating each antenna between activating and reading chips at a rate of 200 times per second. The antennas on a passive system can create a beam width of 30 to 60 degrees, so a tag can be read in a wide area. If the tag software uses only the first read time, it could assign a time well before the tag is in front of the antenna. But if the software uses quadratic regression modeling using 3 or more chip times, the chip time can be accurately calculated within 6-inches of the antenna plane.

      Active tag systems such as J-Chip and Race|Result also have precision as high as 1/100 of a second but rely on a very small trigger area, resulting in very high accuracy. Photographs of active chips consistently show them recording their chip times within inches of the trigger antenna.

      Since active tag systems rely on a trigger signal from an inductive loop wire, the distance from the trigger to the chip is consistent across the length of the trigger wire. For bicycles with an active tag mounted on the head tube, this results in a consistent 1-meter distance from a ground mat or trigger wire to the chip.

      While an active tag will assign the same time to two bikes that are within 10cm at the finish line, a passive tag may assign the same time to two tags within 1 to 10 meters at the finish line.

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