Wireless Timing Project

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Contributors: Gior Dior
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Broncos Country, Let's Race!

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The standard “Combine” assessment is the gold standard for evaluating athlete performance throughout the NFL. The 2022 NFL Draft combine had over 55 million viewers around the world and the 40-yard dash times were amongst the top discussions.

There are two techniques for timing the athlete's 40-yard dash; hand timing, and fully automated electronic timing. As you probably know, hand timing consists of manually starting and stopping time as the athlete crosses the start and finish line. Fully automated electronic timing methodologies are used to mitigate human error, whereby the actions of the athlete will start and stop the time. Typically, an athlete will have a “slower” 40-yard dash time if they are timed using a fully automated timing system. These electronic systems are extremely expensive costing the average Joe more than $600 for one setup. Inspired by the significance of the 40-yard dash and its costly market, we set out to replicate this timing system using only SparkFun components.

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The components used in this tutorial were miles less expensive than the average timing system in today's market. This system brought great ideas for mild horseplay in the workplace, but of course, safety first, not third. We decided to host a company 40-yard dash competition, winner took home bragging rights and a visa gift card.

In this tutorial, you will learn how to create a wireless timing system using the ESP32 WIFI system. This system can be used in limitless applications involving timing such as running, driving, dog racing, robot racing, etc. The hardware includes a pair of ESP32-S2 Thing Plus, two SparkFun Distance Sensor Breakouts 4 Meter VL53L1X, two Metal Pushbuttons, a SparkFun Qwiic Cable Kit, a SparkFun qwiic OLED display, and two Lithium Ion Batteries. You can add all components to your cart using the wish list below:

Required Materials

To follow along with this tutorial, you'll need the following materials.