In the worlds of running, rowing, speed skating and cycling, FinishLynx is practically a household name. Invented by 1988 University of Maine graduate Doug DeAngelis, the finish-line system features a high-speed digital line-scan camera and Windows-based software that times races accurately and quickly, and sends results to scoreboards and databases.
FinishLynx has been used in the Olympics, Tour de France, Kentucky Derby and NCAA championships, and by many high schools for their track competitions. It was even used to time Usain Bolt’s world record of 9.58 seconds in the 100-meter dash.
For DeAngelis, FinishLynx and its parent company, Lynx System Developers Inc., have an even deeper meaning. Lynx is the intersection of DeAngelis’ background in engineering — he has a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from UMaine and a master’s from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in computer science and electrical engineering — and running sports.
“My love of running not only put me in a position to see the problem that needed to be solved, but also gave me the strength to persevere in the early stages of the company when working 20- hour days and traveling nonstop were commonplace,” says DeAngelis, an Orrington, Maine, native who was co-captain of the UMaine cross-country team in his senior year.
“My engineering background gave me the ability to envision the elegant solution, know where I could add the most value in achieving it, and also identify where I needed help.”
DeAngelis is hoping his company’s latest project, IsoLynx, also will become an industry standard.
“IsoLynx is like a very accurate version of GPS for tracking athletes in the field of play,” he says. “Because it applies to many more sports, and applies equally as well to training as it does to competition, we hope that it will have a much bigger impact on sports than FinishLynx.”