A Simple Plan

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.

Regards,
tamberg

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5 Switzerland License.

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9 Responses to “A Simple Plan”

  1. Uinnista » Blog Archive » links for 2009-02-15 Says:

    […] A Simple Plan « rfish blog 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. (tags: swimming rfid) […]

  2. Next Round’s On Me « rfish blog Says:

    […] let’s have a closer look at the individual parts of the reference model by starting out in the pool. An important requirement Rfish should meet is allowing more than one […]

  3. Dear Reader « rfish blog Says:

    […] By tamberg Next in our closer look at the reference model is the Rfish reader. It should be able to distinguish swimmers by reading their personal ID. In […]

  4. Your Daily Serving « rfish blog Says:

    […] Daily Serving By tamberg The remaining part of the reference model we haven not looked at yet is the Rfish server. You might ask yourself why a simple lap counter […]

  5. Ein anderer Rundenzähler ;) « Schwimmen und ME(E)(H)R Says:

    […] >https://rfish.wordpress.com/2009/03/30/rfish-reader-prototype/ >https://rfish.wordpress.com/2009/02/13/a-simple-plan/ […]

  6. Jhon Says:

    Could it be integrated with http://www.xnotestopwatch.com ?
    This pretty stopwatch utility already has a lap time logging system and an external control.

  7. tamberg Says:

    Jhon: As far as I understand the description after a quick look, integrating the Rfish reader with XNote would be possible with an additional adapter between the reader and XNote (running on a PC). Given the above reference model it might make more sense to implement the same functionality as a part of the Rfish web server. The current server implementation already logs timestamps with an accuracy of one second, so providing an XNote like UI should be quite easy.

    Regards,
    tamberg

  8. Alex Says:

    I had the same idea whilst swimming a few days ago! Aside from cost, why not have two RFID readers either side of the pool? You could then measure lap times and speed more accurately, and given the swimmers body weight you could also predict the number of calories burnt whilst swimming.

    Weight loss could then be logged shared on social networks (I’ve found a few exercise based social networks), or more typical ones such as twitter or facebook.

    My local pool has plastic wristband locker keys, a RFID chip could easily be inserted into/onto this, allowing everyone to benefit from such a solution.

    • tamberg Says:

      Hi Alex,

      thanks for your feedback. Using two readers would be possible with a little math on the server. The system as far as I built it just records RFID readings with a time stamp and a reader location. How those are interpreted and presented on the Web is up to the server logic. In practice, the main problem is that you literally have to touch the reader in order to get a reading. This rules out all but the most casual of uses. If you still like to build a reader check http://www.instructables.com/id/Weather-proof-Bluetooth-capable-RFID-reader/

      Regards,
      tamberg

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