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Timing Systems Athletics:Field System

Windgauge System

Certain wind conditions have to be met before a result in track and field events and other competitions can be officially recognised. Traditionally, anemometers in the form of tubular sensors were set up either parallel to the running track or parallel to the runway for the long jump and triple jump. These offered a mechanical measurement, but since wind direction is not constant the reliability of such devices was in doubt. So SEIKO used ultrasound technology to develop a measuring device that would sense wind movement in all directions, including vertical. The SEIKO Windgauge System instantaneously processes the wind data picked up by its sensors, computes the data for the "following wind" direction and displays this figure in metres per second on the wind information display board.

Electronic Distance Measurement System (EDM)

EDM is used in eight field events: high jump, long jump, triple jump, pole vault, discus, shot put, hammer throw and javelin. In the old days, a tape measure was used to make these measurements, but the process of getting accurate measurements was troublesome, time-consuming and not always entirely accurate.

These days, measurements are made with a system that uses infrared beams. At the landing point of the athlete (or the object thrown by the athlete), officials set up a prism marker. An EDM unit at the base line for the event bounces an infrared beam off the prism. Based on data including the time taken for the beam to return, the distance is measured accurately and quickly. In the latest models, when the EDM unit is pointed at the prism the focus is adjusted automatically, greatly reducing the time required for the measurement. After official confirmation, the figure is immediately displayed on the Field Events Board. Swift notification is great for the spectators, and an online system can also relay the results for use on television viewed around the world.

VDM (Video Distance Measurement System)

With two stereo cameras, this system can measure the long jump and triple jump without placing a prism at the landing point in the pit. By clicking on the landing point on a computer screen, the distance from the takeoff board to the landing point can be instantly calculated. As there is no need to place a prism in the pit, the risk of human error is eliminated, and storing the image in the system makes possible a review after the event.

Field Events Board

Linked to an EDM unit, a Field Events Board displays details of field events. As four colours are available-red, white, navy blue and yellow-various presentations are possible in addition to event results. One example: a display of the event emblem. Before an event starts, the board displays the event name. Once the event has started, it displays the athletefs name, country and number, number of attempts, successes/failures, and results. As the display is double sided and can be rotated, spectators can see it easily wherever they may be sitting. In a track and field stadium, where various different events may be in progress at the same time, one board for each event is essential. At large competitions like the World Athletics Championships, you will see up to eight in action simultaneously.

Field Timer

For field events, each athlete has to start an attempt within a specified time. When it is time for the athlete to get ready, the judge sets off a countdown on a Field Timer, and the athlete refers to this when judging when to start the attempt. If the athlete does not start the attempt within the allowed time, the attempt is invalid.

Next Competitor Board

This board is placed in the area where the competitors are standing by, and displays the bib number of the next athlete. The height of the display can be adjusted to make it visible even from a distance.

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