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Timing Cross Country Meets with FinishLynx

Need a more complete solution to time your Cross Country races? You’re not alone! With so much happening around the finish line, it can be tough to simultaneously identify competitors, provide accurate times and finish order, AND link every athlete with their respective finish times. Thankfully, Lynx offers a harmonious solution to the obstacles of Cross Country timing: our FinishLynx Triad of Products.

What is included in our Triad of Products? Glad you asked. It combines three popular digital products to improve the speed and accuracy of capturing meet results. Lynx makes Cross Country timing simple by integrating photo-finish, video, and RFID Chip Results into a single interface:

Vision Camera Graphic
IdentiLynx Camera Graphic
RFID Transponder Graphic

The finish line can be a confusing place at Cross Country meets due to the high volume of finishers crossing at the same time. Athletes can finish fractions of a second apart, and accurate team scores often depend on individual results. This is why fast and accurate identification (AKA our Triad!) is crucial for ANY Cross Country meet!

By linking three complimentary products together, FinishLynx is well equipped to take on the challenges of Cross Country timing. We have created a powerful solution much greater than each of the three systems working independently. By integrating real-time tracking, timing, and visual verification into an intuitive interface, we provide our customers with everything they need for accurate and reliable results at Cross Country meets.

See the GIF below to understand how easy it is to evaluate races with FinishLynx:

IdentiLynx & FinishLynx Evaluation

Like what you see? Contact us today to receive a quote on a Cross Country timing package!

FinishLynx Version 10.12 and New Features

August 2019 – FinishLynx Version 10.12 has been released and is now available to download from our FinishLynx Software & Downloads webpage. We encourage all FinishLynx users to update their software immediately to stay up to date with the latest features. Two of the latest features included in this release are the Automatic Exposure Control (AEC) along with Camera White List Management. Along with the two features described below, the new release also includes Scoreboard Scripts and Advanced – Other Settings. Scroll to the bottom to find the software download plus the release notes for version 10.12. 

Automatic Exposure Control (AEC)

Note: (AEC) is a Vision PRO feature meant to optimize focus adjustment.

Depth of field (DOF) is the distance between the nearest and the furthest objects that are in acceptably sharp focus in an image. As light falls through the day, the lens iris will open to compensate loss of light; an ill effect of a wide open iris is a reduced DOF. Accordingly, focus that may have looked proper when adjusted early in the day with a closed iris may look soft once light falls and the iris opens.

In 2D-Align mode, with AEC enabled, it is possible to fully open the iris without overexposing the image. When focus is adjusted in this minimal DOF mode, it will remain proper later in the day once the lens iris opens.

Camera White List Management

It is now possible to run concurrent FinishLynx sessions on a single network, each session controlling specific cameras. The White List feature allows you to determine which EtherLynx or IdentiLynx cameras should be booted by FinishLynx, and which should be ignored. This can be useful in an advanced configuration where it is necessary to run FinishLynx on multiple computers connected to the same network.

For additional support, please contact Technical Support at support@finishlynx.com 

Why the Vision is our Most Popular Camera Yet

First introduced in October of 2014, the EtherLynx Vision camera has continuously proven itself as one of Lynx’s most powerful and trusted cameras. Its advanced features had never been seen before, and its innovative capabilities are now allowing Lynx users to operate fully automatic timing equipment on another level. In fact, a few years down the road, you may look back and ask yourself how you ever did any of your timing without a camera of this caliber. How can we speak so highly of this technology? Because we have the evidence to back it up.

Vision on Track

The EtherLynx Vision is a sports timing powerhouse with the ability to produce high-speed photo-finish results. It stands out from our older cameras because it checked off a lot of firsts for Lynx:

  • First camera with EasyAlign 2-D alignment mode
  • First camera to produce full-color images by default
  • First camera to contain an array image sensor (allows users to switch between 1-D and 2-D modes from within the software)

The striking new features of our Vision camera, combined with game changing upgrades, make it nearly impossible to say no to updating your timing routine with our latest technology.

EasyAlign 2-D Video Alignment Mode

EasyAlign

EasyAlign is just another way that a Vision camera will make your life easier. This revolutionary mode displays a live, full-frame video preview of the camera’s field-of-view on your computer screen. The 2-D preview overlays two thin lines (vertical and horizontal) so that the camera can be adjusted visually to ensure precise alignment on the finish line. Once the camera is aligned, the array image sensor makes it simple to switch the camera back to 1-D capture mode to get accurate, photo-finish results.

In the past, EtherLynx line-scan cameras had to be aligned using 1-D mode, which can be time consuming. Operators had to rely on the colors and lane lines in the images to determine proper angles and alignment. Worry no more! The 2-D video mode has evolved Lynx technology to align Vision cameras quickly and accurately on the finish line, therefore ensuring top of the line trustworthy results. Easy is in the name for a reason!

Full Color Images

We are not in the 1900’s anymore! Black and white images are a thing of the past, unless you are trying to post some artsy selfies on Instagram. In this day and age, you should not have to struggle to read the results of your race due to the lack of color in the photo. The Vision camera will provide you with high quality images containing up to 32,756 colors! Even the best timers have obstacles: hip numbers can fall off or be obscured, but by having full-color results, quick and accurate evaluations can be made by using school affiliation and uniform color &/or design. The races you time will be blown away by the way you are representing yourself: as a qualified, reliable, and up-to-date technological sports timing wiz.

Along with these technological features, Vision cameras also have:

  • Power-Over-Ethernet: Comes standard so no AC power is required at the camera location
  • Gigabit Transfers: Allows for improved data connectivity at 1,000 Mbps
  • Silent Operation: Dramatically reduced power consumption gets rid of the need for internal fans or cooling, making the Vision the quietest camera yet
  • Backwards Compatibility: Integrates with every camera since 1996

With options to upgrade including:

LuxBoost Camera Upgrade
  • High Resolution Option: Camera comes standard with 1,000 fps, but high resolution brings it up to a whopping 2,000 fps at 1,280 vertical pixels
  • On-Board Level Option: Allows timers to monitor that the camera is level directly from within the FinishLynx software
  • LuxBoost Option: Greatly amplifies brightness during low-light captures
  • Electronic Filter Control Option: Enable and disable low-light camera filters from within the FinishLynx software
  • Wi-Fi Option: Wirelessly transfer timing and results data
  • Internal Battery Option: Allows the camera to continue running in the event of a power outage
  • Phased Light Compensation Option: Helps correct the strobing effect of artificial phased lighting when capturing finish line images indoors

With all of these new hardware and software features, the Vision has become the standard for photo-finish cameras and Fully Automatic Timing. Every timer needs this as part of their setup because it brings results to a whole new level of accuracy, efficiency, and reliability. Contact us to see how you can integrate an EtherLynx Vision camera into your timing setup today!

Request More Details Now

Vision Camera Collage

FinishLynx Timer Spotlight: Markus Lindinger Professionelle Zeitnehmung

It has been our absolute pleasure to speak with Markus Lindinger and to bring back our old Timer Spotlight Series. Our goal here is to reach out to our amazing Lynx community, find out more about them and their unique stories, and share that with you all to enjoy and relate to. Keep reading for some great information on who Markus is, what he does, and how he uses FinishLynx technology.

Name: Markus Lindinger Professionelle Zeitnehmung (Professional Timekeeper)

Location: Upper Austria

Number of Events: 60-70 per year (about 80-95 days per year)

Can you briefly tell us about your business?

I offer timing for multiple sport events: Road cycling, Mountain biking, Cyclocross, Para cycling, running events, Triathlons, and much more – but mainly road cycling – one day and stage races.

My services include: online registration, chip and photo-finish timing, live-results (based on chip timing and photo-finish), providing data for TV graphics, uploading integrated results to UCI-dataride, and much more.

What is one thing that makes your company unique?

I develop my own chip timing and results software with full focus on the possibility to be processed by a single operator. Many customers are surprised to see me handle the whole timing alone. 

What are the biggest challenges you face in your business?

Always keeping up with the rules of the sport and the needs of the organizers. Integrating the continuous changes and additions into my software is the biggest challenge.

Tour of the Alps Finish
Tour of the Alps Finish

What has been your favorite race so far and why?

That was the “Tour of the Alps” this year, just because it was the event with the highest level of riders I have timed so far. Capturing Chris Froome and Vincenzo Nibali with my EtherLynx is quite cool.

If you could time any type of race in the world, which would it be and why?

It has to be one of the three grand tours or a world championship. As a road cycling fan, it would be a great experience to be a part of the biggest races. Of course, I know that is far beyond my capacities. 

When did you start using FinishLynx?

At the beginning, I offered data management for cycling. In 2004, I discovered the EtherLynx 2000 with the ACM Plug-in. That is when my journey with FinishLynx started.

What products and accessories are part of your usual timing set up?

  • EtherLynx Vision PRO 6k lines
  • 1 IdentiLynx XS
  • 2 Microgate MicroGraph display boards
  • 1 AGLE start clock
  • 5 MyLaps Prochip decoders
  • 4 of them integrated in custom built cases for standalone operation of 14 hours and real-time communication over LTE
  • 1300 MyLaps ProChips
  • 2 Notebooks for timing, 4 further for live timing, etc.
  • My van, modified to a full functional office
Van with Office
Timing Van with Office

What are your usual EtherLynx camera capture settings?

Rate: 2000 lines/s

Automatic Capture Object Detection Threshold: 10-15 (25-35 when it rains)

AGC Brightness: 50-68 

Frequency: 7

What features would you like to see added to the system?

That would be the possibility to transfer a captured part of the image from one event to another. In some cases when I run more events simultaneously, it can happen that some athletes arrive late while already capturing the next race. In that case it would be nice to transfer the captured athlete to his event from the actual one. 

Lynx Camera on Finish Line
Lynx Camera on Finish Line

What three words would you use to describe FinishLynx?

Best possible photo-finish-system.

What made you start timing? What keeps you going (favorite part of the job)?

The start was a combination of being a cycling fan, the need of a timer for a race of the local cycling club, and my interest in developing software.

What keeps me going is a lot:

  • The fun of being involved in cycling races and other sport events
  • The feedback of my customers
  • The satisfaction when everything works smoothly…

Wishing a big thank you to Markus for taking the time to participate in out Timer Profile Series. Each Lynx user has their own unique background and style, and we appreciate you sharing your experiences with us!

Interested in being a part of our Q&A? Please send an email to: marketing@finishlynx.com

To learn more about Markus Lindinger Professionelle Zeitnehmung: Click Here

To learn more about photo-finish timing systems: Click Here

New Additions to the Team

We are thrilled to introduce two of our newest employees to our Lynx community. Please join us in welcoming Greg Beaudette and Shannon Brault.


Gregory Beaudette

Gregory Beaudette, Tech Support
Gregory Beaudette, Tech Support

Gregory Beaudette joined the Lynx Tech Support team in March. He comes from an upbringing in running, and after competing for Bishop Hendricken High School’s storied running program, began working as an RI high school track and field official during breaks from school. Soon after, he began helping out with their timing. Since then, he has gained experience timing at every level, from youth to masters, local to championship, on the track and on the roads.

In 2017, Greg graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science. At school, he competed for the XC and Track and Field Teams, collecting accolades including multiple All-Conference and All-Region honors, as well as being a conference champion in the outdoor 10k. His most valued accomplishment, however, was helping the cross-country team to qualify for their first trip to the NCAA national championship in 25 years.

Fun Fact: Greg is an avid hiker and backpacker, so when he’s not running, timing, or taking calls and emails, you can probably find him somewhere in the White Mountains of NH!


Shannon Brault

Shannon, Marketing
Shannon Brault, Marketing & Sales Coordinator

Shannon Brault was welcomed onto the Lynx marketing team this June after graduating in May from Merrimack College. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, with concentrations in Marketing and Sport Management. Shannon loves being around people and sports! She worked for the Boston Red Sox last season and watched them win the World Series. This season, she interned with the Boston Bruins, and really wants them to bring home the win Wednesday night so that she can start saying she is Boston’s good luck charm.

Lynx has accepted Shannon into their community with open arms, which makes her job a whole lot easier! She is new to the world of sports timing, but she is beyond excited to start learning the ins and outs of the business. She is looking forward to getting to know everyone better and contributing in any way that she can.

Fun Fact: Shannon’s last name is pronounced “Bro” and yes, (regretfully) she does sometimes respond to people when they refer to her as such.

 

ForceLynx Ultimate Camera Barrier Upgrade

April 1, 2019 – Many will remember the releases of both the NerfLynx Finish Line Defense Mode (2014) and the TaserLynx High-Voltage Security add-on (2015). Each of these products (while effective) offer a form of camera protection that, in this day and age, could leave timers and camera operators liable for personal injury. While the thought of shocking pesky wandering parents or pelting rogue athletes with foam darts excited many Lynx users, we are now introducing a more humane solution to the on-going problem – ForceLynx.

April Fools - ForceLynx 2019

The ForceLynx Ultimate Camera Barrier is the latest in Lynx innovation striving to protect timing equipment from any form of interference by simply creating a ‘bubble’ around the area. People, pets, or flying objects will gently be bounced in another direction when in contact with the shield. The ForceLynx is currently compatible with all Lynx cameras, including the IdentiLynx full-frame cameras, which tend to be the most susceptible to getting knocked over by overzealous athletes. With an adjustable perimeter, the area of protection around each camera can be changed in accordance with setup conditions and restraints.

The ForceLynx shield does not interfere with Automatic Capture mode and all testing to date has not revealed any noticeable distortion of race images due to the added layer of protection. We hope to expand this excellent feature into a line of timing tents in the unforeseen future. Protect your equipment and yourselves by upgrading your cameras to include ForceLynx today!

April Fools! Thanks for your continued support and sense of humor! 

Be sure to SHARE if you enjoyed it.

FinishLynx Version 10.11 & Remote Control Plug-In

March 2019 – Version 10.11 of the FinishLynx photo-finish timing software is now available to download, and we encourage all Lynx timers to update their software immediately. FinishLynx 10.11 was developed to now include the Remote Control Plug-In at no additional charge.

Many FinishLynx operators may not be familiar with the Remote Control Plug-In. Originally the plug-in was developed primarily for use with high-speed sports where the FinishLynx image size is extremely large. Thanks to Athletic.net and AthleticLIVE Image Export, there is now functionality for the plug-in which allows timers to export individual athlete race photos to a scoreboard or display in real-time as they finish.

It’s not new to share photo-finish images, as pointed out….we have done the manual method for years. The exciting part is the automation of doing it in real-time without the timer doing anything, and for each individual athlete to get their own.

-Dan Bowdoin, Athletic.net

Using the Remote Control Plug-In with the image export is a game-changer for use at any size meet. It has been used at high school dual meets and 10-team college meets, as well as at the New Balance Nationals Indoor meet. What about those who are looking to export IdentiLynx image? Not a problem! IdentiLynx captures can also be incorporated into the export, as seen below.

IdentiLynx Capture

One of the core beliefs at Lynx is to provide unparalleled support to the FinishLynx community in every aspect. In addition to tutorial videos, quick start guides, and technical support just a call or email away, we also always have, and always will offer free software updates. And the software updates are backwards-compatible across all generations of Lynx camera, so no customer gets left behind.


Additional Resources & Videos

Lynx Year-End Review – 2018 Milestones

As 2018 comes to a close, it’s good to reflect on the year and look forward to what’s next to come. This year at Lynx, there was a continued focus on adding quality and robust support materials across many mediums – from quick start guides to tutorial videos. Read about our past year below and we wish you a very happy new year. 

Lynx Symposium Registration

03/2018 | Lynx International Conference (Orlando, FL) — Members of the Lynx team headed down south to Orlando, Florida to host the 2018 International Resellers Symposium at the Coronado Springs Resort. We hosted Lynx partners and resellers from many countries all over the world who all came together to learn new skills and network with fellow operators. We had an impressive turnout with 60+ attendees from 29 partner countries around the world. See more pictures

06/2018 | Lynx RMA (Return Merchandise Authorization) Portal — Lynx has been testing a new RMA (Return Merchandise Authorization) portal to streamline our hardware return, repair, and upgrade process. As of June 2018, the RMA portal is live and ready to use. You can now submit repair requests and track your hardware status online. Have you used the RMA portal yet? View the features and quick-start guide here: Read More

Barranquilla Games 2018

07/2018 | Barranquilla Games (Barranquilla, Columbia) — Flash Results and two Lynx technical support members traveled to Barranquilla, Columbia for the Central American and Caribbean Games. Head to our Facebook page to see more pictures form the event.

09/2018 | Lynx Company Retreat — Lynx employees and their families visited Migis Lodge on Sebago Lake in the beautiful state of Maine for a long weekend together on the lake. Everyone enjoyed delicious meals, a wide range of outdoor activities, and some quality time together. Another great company outing in the books!

12/2018 | National Athletic Directors Conference (San Antonio, TX)  Each year, two members of the Lynx team travel to the National Athletic Directors Conference. This year, we joined thousands of other exhibitors and Athletic Directors in San Antonio, TX. Attendees were able to stop by our booth to ask questions, learn more about Lynx, or just say hello. Next year’s conference will be held in National Harbor, Maryland. We hope to see you there!

12/2018 | Lynx Holiday Luncheon — The Lynx holiday luncheon had a particular focus on team-building this year as we solved puzzles to work our ways out of escape rooms at Escapology in Tewksbury, MA. After working our way through the various rooms, we enjoyed a delicious lunch together. 


2018 Technical Support Overview

Released FinishLynx 10.10 — A new FinishLynx software version was released on 10/16/2018. Is your software up to date? The main features of the latest version include:

  • Vision-Series Camera Firmware
  • Internal RadioLynx
  • Camera Network Selection
  • Video Display Module
  • Additional Scoreboard Scripts
  • Advanced Other Settings

Download 10.10 here

Group Training — In addition to providing excellent phone and email assistance to Lynx operators, our technical support team is sometimes booked to give training sessions for new users. This past year, our tech guys traveled to Oklahoma twice, Texas twice, Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama to work hands-on ensuring users have the best possible understanding of the Lynx line of products and software. Think group training would be beneficial to your program? Fill out a form to learn more.

Support Videos — This year, the Lynx team created and added 8 new tutorial videos to our YouTube Channel as well as on our Support Videos page. Have a suggestion for a new software tutorial or hardware setup video? Let us know!


Social Media By the Numbers — We’re always trying to expand our network of FinishLynx users online and social media is a great place to connect with everyone. As of 2018, we currently have 2,300+ Twitter followers and 1,900+ Facebook page likes. In 2017, we started the FinishLynx Sports Timers Group on Facebook as a resource for timers and operators to connect and share insights. The group has now grown to 684 members with 194 posts and 1,492 comments on those posts. Very impressive! 

Looking Forward

Another year has passed with many exciting changes and forward progress at Lynx. In the coming year, we look forward to producing even more support videos and blog posts. In November 2019, we will be attending the always enjoyed FSB Cologne trade show in Germany where we can connect with international partners and friends. As always, we encourage you to reach out with any questions or suggestions and we thank you for another excellent year. 


Connect with us on Social Media

FacebookLynx Facebook Page

TwitterLynx Twitter Feed

InstagramLynx on Instagram

YouTubeLynx YouTube Channel

2018-19 Lynx Winter Holiday Schedule

Haverhill, MA – A quick note to the FinishLynx community that our Headquarters will be closed for an extended winter break during the 2018-19 holiday season for the chance to spend extra time with family and friends. Our Haverhill office will close on Friday, December 21st at the end of the work day. The office will reopen at 9:00 AM (Eastern Standard Time) on Wednesday, January 2nd.

This year, the employees of Lynx will be celebrating our holiday party on Wednesday, December 19th. We’ll be heading to Escapology in Tewksbury, MA to test our teamwork by solving puzzles to escape different rooms before time runs out. Once we’ve all made it out successfully, we’ll celebrate with a team lunch. 

Limited technical support may be available by calling the office and following the prompts to leave a message: (978) 556-9780. You can also submit a tech support web form and may receive a response via email.

2018-19 Holiday Schedule

Close: Friday, December 21st at 5:00 PM (EST)
Re-Open: Wednesday, January 2nd at 9:00 AM (EST)

 

From everyone here at Lynx, we wish you and your family a very happy holiday and wonderful new year!

Lynx Holiday Image

Try These FinishLynx LapTime Settings To Improve Your Cross Country Results

Cross-country season is upon us and experienced timers always find ways to improve their operations. Here are some tips that may save a few clicks or speed up the results generation process. Are there any other tips worth sharing?

Line Labels

When using the combination of an EtherLynx camera, an IdentiLynx camera and a LapTime device, try activating Line Labels to help with the verification of results. This can make it easier to quickly scroll through the image and confirm all chips have been received and that the order is correct.

Find detailed instructions in our Online Manual – Overlay Section.

Overlay Line Labels in FinishLynx

FillInTime – Advanced Settings

By default, the Time field will only populate when the photo-finish image is evaluated, if using a camera and a LapTime device. It is possible to configure FinishLynx so that the cumulative time from a LapTime device is used to populate the Time field when the number of laps changes from 1 to 0 by changing FillInTime to Always (instead of only when Hardware is set to None).

To set the FillInTime to Always:

  1. Hold CTRL+SHIFT and click File | Options…
  2. Expand LapTime.
  3. Select FillInTime.
  4. Set the value to 2.

TotalLaps – Advanced Settings

When using a LapTime device, it is important to set the number of laps in the Event window before any LapTime data is received, especially if the FillinTime feature is being used. By default, the total number of laps is set to 0, but this can be modified so that a new event is created with a specific number of laps to go.

To set the default value for Laps to go:

  1. Hold CTRL+SHIFT and click File | Options…
  2. Expand LapTime.
  3. Select TotalLaps.
  4. Enter the number of laps for the next race.

*For races where the LapTime device is used for the finish only, set the value to 1.

TrackSelection – Advanced Settings

FinishLynx will track the selected result line in the Result Zone whenever it moves in the list. This is convenient when evaluating the finish, since the most recently evaluated result is selected and easy to find.

However, if you scroll the Results Zone data to the end to see if all athletes have crossed the latest split point during a multi-split race, it will always jump back to show the currently selected line whenever new data is received.

To avoid this, turn off the TrackSelection feature:

  1. Hold Ctrl–Shift and click File | Options…
  2. Expand Event.
  3. Expand Results.
  4. Select TrackSelection.
  5. Set the value to 0.

Max results on scoreboard

Do you want your scoreboard or LED display to only scroll through the top 30 places for a race, instead of all 300 participants? You can easily set a max value of results to page through in the Scoreboard Options.

To limit the paging to a maximum number of finishers:

  1. Click Scoreboard | Options…
  2. Select the correct scoreboard object.
  3. Enter the desired value for Max (Results: section).

FinishLynx scoreboard options max results

IdentiLynx Buffer

Refer to this previous blog post to learn how to increase the IdentiLynx buffer to avoid dropped frames. Note that the next version of FinishLynx will set the default value for CacheSize to 100MB.

Map Files

When the transponder ID does not match the results key (ie. the bib number), a map file is required to link the transponders to athletes. A map file is a simple text file that includes each athlete’s bib number and transponder ID, separated by a comma. A sample map file called LapTimeMap.txt is also saved to C:\Lynx folder when FinishLynx is installed.

There are multiple ways to create a map file. It can be done by hand in Notepad or Excel. It can also be done by scanning transponders in order and using the corresponding *.lif as demonstrated in this video tutorial (this video is specific to IPICO, but the same principle can apply to all systems). Different third-party systems may also have their own way to create it.

Tip: Consider getting a short range antenna compatible with your laptime system, such as the IPICO Registration Reader or Impinj Mini-Guardrail Indoor Antenna, to simplify this process. For UHF systems, it may be worth investing in a printer to encode the tags yourself and avoid using a map file all together.

Add the FinishLynx XC Triad

Combine the power of FinishLynx photo-finish, RFID chips, and IdentiLynx video for a complete Cross Country meet timing system. Learn more about the XC Timing Triad here