Presented by

  • Dave Chinner

    Dave Chinner

    One afternoon, whilst sitting on the verandah watching a flock of Welcome Swallows perform their daring and acrobat dance around the house, Dave pondered how he had gotten here. Once a bright young engineer ready to take on anything, years of long toil on the Linux Kernel rewarded him with burnout and an awareness of how jaded and cynical his view of modern technology and it's development processes has become. "You can change the world", they said. So Dave did change his world, but he still works on filesystems and modern technology. Only now he does it from an idyllic remote location where he can get away from the modern world and only worry about the important things in life. Like: "Where the heck did that snake come from?!", "Oi! Misty! Stop chasing kangaroos and come back here!" and "I wonder where this bolt was supposed to go?".


Before you can run a timed motorsport event, you have to have a timing system. But what do you do when the requirements for the timing system are severe enough that the only off-the-shelf solutions are so excitingly expensive the event does not have the budget to obtain access to such a system? You guessed it: "Dave, can you build a timing system for us?" In this talk I'll walk through the challenges of designing and building a millisecond accurate timing system using open source sfotware and tools that has timing points far enough away that running cables is not practical, is in terrain that makes radio comms largely impossible, has to be set up on site in less than 60 minutes by one person and include safety systems integrated into race control protocols. This timing system involves Beaglebones, designing and building custom hardware capes and the software to interface with them, as well as all the software to control the system and handle all the timing logic and safety procedure interlocks. It involves python, C, MQTT, wide area networking, highly accurate distributed time synchronisation and, of course, fast cars.