Mar. 13th, 2012

There's an idea that's been playing in the back of my mind recently: given the diverse background of people involved in roller-derby, why aren't more of the resident techies making things to facilitate officiating the sport?

Actually, that's a bit of a loaded question. They already are. One of the most visible examples is the scoreboard you see projected on a board/wall at most bouts.

A bunch of people took time out to make stuff happen.

As a personal project, I want to write yet another penalty box timing app, one that suits my needs, given that I've done the job and know what irks me about my current system. (Also, I just want an excuse to code up a simple android app for a tablet I plan on purchasing)

After a random conversation at a practice session, it seems other people have other problems they want solved, and other than cost for a pre-packaged solution, I don't see why some of these things can't be done.

For instance, if you're tracking penalties, it's frequently hard to hear referees' calls. What would be interminably cool is some sort of headset system so the people on the inside could listen to the penalties on headphones and deal with them. The main issue is the transport signal (radio/bluetooth/whatever) and the ergonomics of it (and maybe the communication structure).

What I'd love to see is a timing device that could tie into the scoreboard so that the timekeeper could ensure correct time was displayed to the audience/skaters. The easiest solution in my head would be a smartphone app that utilised some method to communicate to the machine running the scoreboard software. Hell, then we could maybe have the penalty box software listen in to sync with the timekeeper so that the timing starts and ends with the jam.

Even if it was beyond the skillset of the league's members, I wonder if something like the Science Day Hackathon could work? Sometimes the hardest thing about figuring out about making something is what to make, or deciding what problem you want to solve.

I think improving some of the technology used could solve a lot of our problems, and it'd be really interesting to see if it works. It's mostly a matter of getting the right people together.

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tara_hanoi

September 2015

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