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Made In Michigan: Touch Pads

6:35 PM, Jul 24, 2012   |    comments
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GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- The olympics are coming up. Many of you may remember the finish where Michael Phelps won his eighth gold medal by a fraction of second. That life changing win was determined by a "touch pad"activated by the first swimmer to touch the wall.

As WZZM's Sarah Barwacz reported Tuesday, one brand of "touch pads" are made here in Michigan.

She joined Ottawa Hills High School's swim team. But the photo finish has been replaced by something faster, electronic, and more accurate. It's called touch pads. Dick and Jane Farnsworth with International Sports Timing designed their pads. 

Farnsworth says, "It's basically just a switch and it hangs at the end of the pool, and the swimmer comes in and pushes on it, it tells the machine that they've reached the wall."

The pads are so sensitive-- it can read a tenth of a second. In swimming it means the difference between first and second.

The Farnsworth's developed their business idea after their daughter joined the swim team. Soon the touch pads caught on and schools in the US and overseas started buying them. 

"It's really exciting to see as they've expanded across the country-- we have systems from Hong Kong to Saudi Arabia."

And as International Sports Timing pushes forward the product is all Made Here in Michigan. 

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