Fitness center hand scanners receive updates

Have you re-scanned your hand at the Marga Hosaeus Fitness Center this semester? The hand scanning technology in the fitness center has been updated in an attempt to make admission to the gym faster and more convenient.

Hand scanners are used at the entrance of the fitness center to admit gym members and enables individuals to check out equipment. Students began to utilize the new technology on Dec. 8, re-registering their hands with the updated system.

Hand scanners were originally installed in the fitness center when it was renovated around seven years ago. Since installation the technology has gone out of date and system glitches were causing problems. Upon attending the National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association Annual Conference and Recreational Sports Expo, staff from the Fitness Center learned about new technology options and decided to update the hand scanning system with Innosoft Fusion.

Now each hand scanner has its own IP address which connects to the computer system. The new technology also connects the CatCard office to every desk in the fitness center. The hand scanners are used as a security measure: they register the size and weight of each person’s hand but do not take fingerprints.

The shift in technology required changing out every computer, monitor, hand scanner, card swiper and all of the previous hardware. The updates were costly but were funded through the fitness center’s existing budget, and students will see no increase in fees from the updates.

Assistant Director of Recreational Sports and Fitness and the Director of Facility Operations and Staff Operations, James Shepherd, was involved in installing the new system and believes it will have benefits for students and the MSU community. “It gives people another option and it makes it a little bit faster for people to come in and do their business,” Shepherd said.

Shepherd appreciated the help other groups across campus offered for the project.

“The teams around campus that gave us work was phenomenal. It was amazing how much everybody came to help without any questions … There were times I would call someone and they would be here in five minutes. That helps me to have a team on campus that’s willing to just jump in, no issues,” Shepherd said.

The dining halls also use hand scanning technology to connect to cat cards and pay for meals, but those are on a different system than that in the fitness center. Shepherd sees further possibilities for hand scanning technology across campus.

The system has been running smoothly, but as with any technological change, glitches have occurred. The new card scanners can have trouble reading older CatCards and any items on a person’s hand, such as a ring, can cause the scanner to not recognize a hand.

The new system prevents students from sneaking friends into the fitness center because the system is able to recognize when a person’s hand and a corresponding CatCard are scanned at the same time. As of now, getting students hands re-scanned will help complete the update. Re-scanning a hand takes seconds and can be done at the fitness center or the CatCard office.