“I really appreciated the ‘can-do’ attitude they brought to the project and am immensely happy with the new system,” said Canoe Racing New Zealand business manager Karen Simpson.
Canoe Racing New Zealand needed a finish-line solution for canoe sprint racing. Its old, manual, timing system was prone to human error because it required a lot of human power. It used one person and a stopwatch for each race lane. There are nine of these lanes in all. As each canoeist crossed the finish the button would be manually pressed. As well as the stopwatch operators the canoe sprinting course required a tenth person to oversee it.
The organization had limited funding for regatta administration and needed a cheap but effective system that operated within the unique layout of the race finish line and the administration building, 120 meters apart.
Canoe Racing New Zealand developed a set of high level requirements. The Company-X team developed a more accurate, and automated, system, writing specialized software to capture regatta race events that records the start and finish time for each race lane. It integrates with inexpensive hardware to record a finish line video of each competitor and the video is used to assign finish times. It also has a photo finish function to determine finish order.
The system uses two wirelessly linked, or cabled, personal computers to provide a finish line operator view and an administration function. The software works with affordable video cameras opposed to very expensive finish line cameras.
“Company-X directors David Hallett and Jeremy Hughes were great,” said Karen.
“They came to Lake Karapiro to watch the racing environment and see how the product needed to work in a practical sense. They spent a lot of time making sure it was easy to use and fairly idiot-proof, which is necessary when using a changing group of volunteers to operate the system.
“The finished product is exactly what we needed and is robust enough to function in the ever-changing weather conditions that an outdoor, water-based sport must operate in. I really appreciated the ‘can-do’ attitude they brought to the project and am immensely happy with the new system.”