h a l f b a k e r y
Contrary to popular belief
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In a relay race, a team of runners take turns running
around a track, passing a baton between them to keep
track of whose turn it currently is. This is very
much a serial operation and could be improved from a
performance perspective if all members of the team ran
at once, subject to the track
throughput to support the traffic.
A baton collection/receptacle mechanism could await at
the finish line to serve as means of measuring start and
end times, which would be summed and
compared team-wise to determine the winners.
Assuming a normal relay race contains 4 participants,
average run times should be reduced threefold (or is it
fourfold? How do you report time-savings as a
ratio?) saving everyone valuable time in the process.
Once rolled out, such a system might be further
deployed for other trivially parallellisable sporting
operations such as darts, golf and football. Whilst
some of these might require some work to work out the
details, certainly the prospect of more compressed
sporting events is something we could all rally
Obviously this isn't applicable to cricket, the somewhat
recursive object of which is to play cricket for as long as
is comfortably possible, subject to
indelible time-boundaries defined by lunch, tea, and
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||Just have one step timed, and extrapolate.
||I note that the sport of synchronised swimming is leading
the way in this and showing other sports how to parallelise
activities to give efficiency gains.
||Perhaps a rope and pulley mechanism, with one end of
a rope attached to the baton, by which three runners
can accelerate the 4th runner to enormous speed? And
possibly momentum transfer as the baton is
||[a1] wins the star prize btw.
||Yes. So have a teammate on each end to pass the baton to and to accept it from, and to place it in the receptacle.
||I see the great benefit in reducing the running time for
these races [+], but as described, you change the dynamics
of the baton handoff, and you also loose the effect of
the last runners seeing their position relative to each
other as they approach the finish line.
||So, runner 1 starts like normal. Runner 2 is waiting 40
meters ahead to receive the baton. Runner 3 is at 80
meters and runner 4 is at 120. So this starts out looking
kind of like a very short relay. The difference is that all of
the runners keep running after the handoff. The
traditional order should be changed so that the first runner
is slowest, working up to the fastest being last so that the
members of the team don't need to pass each other. The
progress of the 4 runners is tracked and conveyor belts in
the track, adjust the position of the teams forward or back
based on how fast the team members are going relative to
the competition. Once the first 3 runners have finished,
no more adjustment is needed, so the final bit of the race
is just like normal.
||There would of course be problems if any of the team
members can beat the next slowest team member by more
than 40 meters. The initial spacing could be adjusted
longer for longer races to reduce this problem.
||Note that traditionally in longer races runners would all
move to the inside track so the starting spacing would not
have to be so different. Obviously that can't work here
because the conveyor belt needs to adjust each team
separately, but since we've installed conveyor belts in the
track, we don't have to worry about that at all.
All teams can now start together at the starting line, and
the outer tracks just moves forward while going around
the curve to make the running distances equivalent. Fans
might be used to balance the wind resistance advantage
between inner and outer lanes.
||The baton handing over part was where the collection/receptacle mechanism came in, I was
envisigioning a kind of robot arm arrangement from which a baton could be taken and returned at the
start/end of the race - it could be on a kind of rail system for a moving handover to please the
||a1 I think each participant in your 8-person team example would only each run 1/8 of the course -
In total, they'd cover a full unit, but only in aggregate, which would be the same if the race had
been run serially. I'm largely basing this on circular stadia-tracks where the course remains
invariant. For straight-line races this would have the added advantage of reducing the overall
course length along with the duration.
||This suggests something which I think I should post as a
||Couldn't you just send a pic of the baton to the finish line?
||That could create a new line of racing: Digital vs.
sneakernet. Hmm... idea strikes.