Racing into the digital age



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Since 2006, an assortment of Little 500 riders have worn stickers on their helmets to help senior informatics majors on a group project. This year’s group has made serious improvements, including recruiting more riders, and this year their data is hitting the Web. David Orr Buy Photos



Who: Josh LaMar, Courtney Heban, Deema AlGhanim, Holly Beyerle and Heather Giles — senior informatics majors

What: iCycle, their Informatics Capstone senior project

Where: Four radio frequency identification tags (RFID) will be placed on every Little 500 rider’s helmet.

When: Placed on riders’ helmets on race day, the RFID tags will communicate riders’ times with antennas hanging from the pole.

Why: The data will be compiled and released to the public so people who aren’t at the race and even those who are can have an accurate leaderboard.

How to watch on race day: iuicycle.com and idsnews.com OR download the iPhone app from iuicycle.com to get the leaderboard on your phone while at the race.

How it works

1. RFID tags are placed on riders. The tags are virtually weightless.

2. Riders compete in the race with the RFID tags.

3. A signal is sent out from the RFID tag to a receptor on a pole attached to the
start/finish line.

4. The signal is transmitted from the pole into a computer that tracks each rider’s time.

LaMar said although iCycle has been in place for several years, this is the first year all riders are required to wear the RFID tags on their helmets.

“It just makes our project more complete,” LaMar said. “The last few years there have only been 17 teams or five teams wearing them (each year), but this year we’re actually doing the whole shebang so that makes iCycle one step closer to hopefully being the official timing system; that’s what we’re shooting for.”

— Stephanie Kuzydym

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