Here’s a first sketch of how Rfish should help you count your laps. As it already contains hardware components and data transmission technology, the picture looks a bit complicated. But don’t worry, we’ll look at every part in detail. Even if it might change with further insight, the advantage of such a detailed reference model is that we can talk about every aspect of the project by pointing to this picture.
So let’s get started: the basic idea is to use RFID tags to trigger a stationary lap counter. Every person swimming on the lane gets such a tag and thus a unique ID. By touching the reader with your RFID tag, you can increase your personal lap count. The collected data (i.e. your lap count per session) is then transmitted to a server, where it is accessible over the internet with every web browser.
How can such a system ever be available at a reasonable price? By taking advantage of openness and collaboration. As illustrated above, many swimmers can share one RFID reader on the same lane. If this project leads to a usable prototype, instructions to build a reader from relatively cheap parts will be available for free under an open license. So you can build your own reader and either get your pool’s staff to install it for everyone, or just bring it with you and use it together with your friends. The rest of the system will be based on open standards allowing everybody (or at least some nerds) to replace individual parts by cheaper alternatives or more innovative solutions. Of course, until further notice this is all just wishful thinking. But it might well be worth some more brain cycles.
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