History of Polaritas
Founded in 1984 in Budapest, Hungary, Polaritas originally developed measurement and test equipment for manufacturing for which the firm built a strong reputation for technical excellence. However, it was in 1997 when the company found the opportunity to create a better way of managing the race process for canoeing, kayaking and rowing events with a new, automatic race starting system.
Prior to Polaritas becoming involved in the development of a race start system, the whole starting process for canoeing was rather immature but the experience with industrial tests and measurements was a good starting point for the development of a new race start system. All equipment needed to meet the rigorous specifications set by the International Rowing Federation (FISA) and the International Canoe Federation (ICF) on accuracy, reliability and deployment.
Following an intensive year of development, the first generation Automatic Starting System from Polaritas was successfully used in the 1998 ICF World Championships in Szeged, Hungary. In the following years Polaritas developed further race equipment including the Albano Lane Marking Buoy Systems, starting lights and software for event organizers.
Meanwhile Omega, the Official Timekeeper for the Olympic Games, contacted Polaritas with a contract offer for the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Athens. The system was developed further to be interfaced with all critical timekeeping systems used for major sporting events.
Polaritas’ first generation systems were used successfully at the 2004 Athens Olympics where the system performed without a hitch across 14 medal events. The successful Olympic debut was the beginning of the ongoing long term cooperation between Polaritas and Omega at the Olympic Games.
Polaritas has always felt that innovation was essential to grow its market position so in 2006 ahead of the 2008 Beijing Olympics it started developing a new start system that would incorporate video cameras for the first time. The firm spent over a year developing its second generation Start System. Dedicated cameras make it much easier for judges to ensure that all competitors are in the correct position and the new second generation Polaritás system using video was first used at the 2007 Beijing Olympics test event and was later deployed at the 2008 Olympic Games.
In 2009, Polaritas started developing its third generation system which now includes its own StartVideo software to help event judges evaluate events at the rowing or canoeing start line. Using a touch screen computer, the software collates video from cameras at the start line to help the starter judges detect false starts.
The third generation Polaritas systems were used at the London 2012 Olympics with great success. Working closely with Omega, a team from Polaritas had been dispatched to the London 2012 Olympics Rowing and Canoeing Course to set up and operate all technical aspects of the system. Held over 14 days, the competition featured 26 medal events across men’s and women’s events, ranging from Single Sculls, featuring solo rowers, to the Eight, featuring teams of eight rowers plus a cox in the sport of rowing and boats with single, double and four paddler crews in canoe-kayak.
Polaritas introduced its new, fourth generation starting system in 2013 while preparing for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. The new system is presenting revolutionary new features and is protected by pending international patents.
The continuous use of innovative technology has made Polaritas a leading global specialist of Sport Technology, especially in canoe and rowing sports. Today Polaritas systems are used in 26 countries around the world and at the majority of international rowing and canoeing competitions.