Apparently, punching technology will be used at VM2004 (ski-O WOC)
that does not require physically punching the control, just getting
close (close being very close: 20cm). (The following from a post
on the US Ski O team yahoo group).
The key thing I want to mention (and which I think is good) is that you are
not going to have to punch at controls at VM!!!! They will use a new system
where you just come within 20cm of the control and it will register on your
chip that you were there. The idea is that you should stop at the control
and put your chip on the control, but the reality is that moving buy the
control slowly is even possible (full stop not really needed). They are
still refining the system, so we will have to see exactly how they have it
set for VM. The great news given that people have gloves on in ski-o is not
having to worry about precision of placing a chip into the control sensor.
I am sure they will tell all about this at the model event and it is nothing
difficult, just good news for all!
In foot O, this would be good for the finish, at least, where stopping
to punch is annoying. I also find with the SportIdent system, that
sometimes there is a noticeable delay when punching. While short, this
delay is also annoying to me, as it disrupts my flow. I think this is because
it is an event for which you have no control; you are in rhythm, and have
to wait for an external event to complete. Pin punching, tho slower, seems
less annoying than when this happens, as you have full control.