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New methods for analysis of movement in sports equipment

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Just got an announcement for a MEMS (micro electomechanical systems) seminar to be presented at my University. It certainly would be interesting to get instrumentation like this on skis to obtain objective data about ski movements as opposed to the varied subjective interpretation that so often occurs.

The fine motor control needed in many sports (and other activities)
often results by respecting the age-old adage that "practice makes
perfect." However, practice alone does not guarentee success, and
particularly so when it only leads to fine tuning a fundamentally
poor technique. This talk will review recent inventions used for
diagnosing proper technique by measuring the motion of the sports
equipment used for golf, tennis, baseball, fly casting, crew, etc.

The inventions employ MEMS inertial sensors in compact, low-power
modules to transduce 2-D and 3-D rigid body dynamics. Combinations
of accelerometers and angular rate gyros are employed to measure the
acceleration and angular velocity vectors of a rigid body of sports
equipment. Inspection of this raw data, or integrated forms of this
data, reveal metrics that readily distinguish good vs. poor
technique. More subtle differences amoung the highest calibre
techniques can often be distinguished as well. The identification and
measurement of quantitative performance metrics open the door to
novel sports training aids. Sensor modules engineered for both wired
and wireless operation will be reviewed and their application to golf
and to fly casting will be discussed in some detail.
post #2 of 6

Cool stuff. For elite level competition, I think this kind of analysis could be invaluable.

For everyone else, this is overkill and expensive. Using video to focus on body movements is a much more efficient method for improving sports technique than trying to interpret detailed performance metrics from the equipment.

Even with the "sensor" approach, it will be critical to have accompanying video to determine whether equipment metrics are a result of the equipment or a result of an athlete's technique.
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

Absolutely, not for use in every day activity. I was only thinking about this as a means to provide metrics of what actually occurs with the skis of racers and experts (vs. non-experts if you like). As you say, a correlation with video (or perhaps ultimately instrumented bodies) then gives a much more accurate view as to the effects of movements on the skis and differences between expert and less than expert performance that commonly occur.

I have seen numerous examples on Epic forums (and elsewhere) of people reporting very different impressions of what the skis are doing from the same pictures or video. A quantitative objective analysis can only help clarify these. misunderstandings.

For example, there has been a lot of debate here on the role that relaxation/lightening/lifting of the old outside/new inside leg has in leading to a shift of the CM up the hill. This kind of instrumention could be used to help provide answers to this debate. Furthermore it could demonstrate some of the differences between extension of the old inside/new outside leg and relaxation of the other ski in initiating a turn.

This is just one area of debate (out of MANY) that could be answered with appropriate/accurate measurement.
post #4 of 6
Would this sort of information be readily shared on the World Cup curcuit? Imagaine the Austrian team gets wired up and the data reveals areas for improvement, wouldn't others have to wait to see that improvement manifest in Austrian success before they worked out what was new?

Did you see that Japanese skiing robot?
post #5 of 6
Si, this is really interesting, and exactly the kind of objective measure that could lead to some really clear goals for skiing growth. I would be very interested in seeing the results of such tests on a broad range of skiers.
post #6 of 6
In case anyone is interested in the other side of this technocratic coin, try looking at Japanese ski robot
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