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Challenging Olympic Medals - An Innovative GNSS-Based Multi-Sensor System for Athlete Training and Coaching

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  • Beihang University

Abstract and Figures

In preparing for Olympic competition, every detail is important. Athletes and coaches are not only interested in the physiological information, but also interested in the positional information. Physiological information can be relatively easy to obtain using relevant detectors. However, real-time high precision determination of the athletes' movement and the status of motion has been a challenging task. This contribution introduces the development of a smart real-time athlete monitoring and coaching system, which integrates a low-cost GPS, Micro-Electro-Mechanical System (MEMS) inertial measurement units (IMUs), magnetometers, wireless communication and other physiological sensors. Surveying, Positioning And Navigation (SPAN) group at RMIT University in collaboration with the Australian Institute of Sport and Catapult Innovations Pty Ltd. has embarked this innovative development of the patented system since early 2003. The system was initially designed for elite Australian rowers in both Athens Olympics and the Lucerne International Rowing Regatta and now it has been tested and used across a large number of sport activities, including rowing, canoeing, skiing, running, sailing, footballing etc. The current developments of the system, system architecture, field validation and potential applications are presented and further developments (e.g. the interpretation of data and customisation for individual players) and its commercial aspect of the project are also outlined. We hope that the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games will witness the significant roles of geospatial science has played in sport competition and quality improvement of recreational activities.
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CHALLENGING OLYMPIC MEDALS – AN INNOVATIVE GNSS-BASED MULTI-
SENSOR SYSTEM FOR ATHLETE TRAINING AND COACHING
K. Zhanga, F. Wua, C. Mackintoshb, T. Riceb, C. Goreb, A. Hahnb, and S. Holthousc
aSchool of Mathematical and Geospatial Sciences, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia
bAustralian Institute of Sport, Canberra, Australia
cCatapult Innovations Pty Ltd, Melbourne, Australia
KEY WORDS: Global Positioning System, Olympic Competition, Inertial Navigation System, Sport Application
ABSTRACT:
In preparing for Olympic competition, every detail is important. Athletes and coaches are not only interested in the physiological
information, but also interested in the positional information. Physiological information can be relatively easy to obtain using
relevant detectors. However, real-time high precision determination of the athletes' movement and the status of motion has been a
challenging task. This contribution introduces the development of a smart real-time athlete monitoring and coaching system, which
integrates a low-cost GPS, Micro-Electro-Mechanical System (MEMS) inertial measurement units (IMUs), magnetometers, wireless
communication and other physiological sensors. Surveying, Positioning And Navigation (SPAN) group at RMIT University in
collaboration with the Australian Institute of Sport and Catapult Innovations Pty Ltd. has embarked this innovative development of
the patented system since early 2003. The system was initially designed for elite Australian rowers in both Athens Olympics and the
Lucerne International Rowing Regatta and now it has been tested and used across a large number of sport activities, including
rowing, canoeing, skiing, running, sailing, footballing etc. The current developments of the system, system architecture, field
validation and potential applications are presented and further developments (e.g. the interpretation of data and customisation for
individual players) and its commercial aspect of the project are also outlined. We hope that the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games will
witness the significant roles of geospatial science has played in sport competition and quality improvement of recreational activities.
1. INTRODUCTION
In many sports, the margin between victory and defeat may be a
matter of a few hundredths of a second. Certainly that is true of
sport competition where the demands on equipment and the
performance pressure on athletes are tremendous - and not just
on elite athletes, but increasingly on participants at every skill
level. Athletes and coaches are not only interested in the
physiological information, e.g., blood oxygen, respiration and
heart rates; but also interested in the position and movement
information, e.g. position, velocity, acceleration and changes in
direction. Physiological information can be relatively easy to
obtain using relevant detectors, e.g., heart rate monitor,
ergometer (O'Sullivan et al., 2003). However, real-time high
precision determination of the athlete location and movement
has been a challenge (Fyfe et al., 2001; Hutchings et al., 2000;
Larsson, 2003; Wu et al., 2007).
In-depth understanding of sensor-based human performance
measurement, such as the determination of a characteristic
signature of the "perfect" movement, is required to analyse the
performance of the athlete (Seiler, 2003). The position,
movement (velocity and heading) and acceleration (i.e. force)
information plays an important role in an effective analysis of
the athlete performance. Athletes and coaches are not only
interested in the trajectories of the movement, but also in the
motion analysis of segments of the human or the orientation of
equipment (e.g. lift-over of a motor cycle, torsion of skis).
Therefore, the ability to measure and record positional
information together with athlete physiological information in
real-time is critical to the process of athlete training and
coaching (Wu et al., 2007).
Traditionally, development and testing of materials or
equipment for sport has been based on repeated measurements
with resources including timing cells or wind tunnels. Similarly,
the analysis of athletes’ performance has relied on techniques
such as measuring race segments (chronometry) and video
recordings (Wägli and Skaloud, 2007). That is to say, positional
information can only be measured in either well-controlled
situation in dedicated sport laboratories or using simulation
device (Zhang et al., 2004). These methods, however, appear
vulnerable to changing meteorological conditions and the
difficulty of replicating the posture and movement of test
subjects from one trial to the next due to such facts as improved
performance stemming from cumulative experience in the trials
or decreased performance due to fatigue (Wägli and Skaloud,
2007). Furthermore, much of the equipment is either too heavy,
expensive or obtrusive and multiple factors which are difficult
to control have limited the use of sport-specific field testing
(Zhang et al., 2003). Therefore, new methods that offer precise
measurements during trials and subsequent evaluation of
positions, velocities, acceleration and changes in direction
would be a big leap forward (Wu et al., 2007).
Satellite-based positioning has already proven its effectiveness
in many sports, including car racing and rowing (Edgecomb and
Norton, 2006; Wägli and Skaloud, 2007; Zhang et al., 2003;
Zhang et al., 2004). In an open space, Global Positioning
System (GPS) supports continuous position, velocity, and
acceleration analysis of athlete’s trajectories. The
environmental reality, however, is often far from such an ideal
case. An athlete’s environment quickly alternates between open
spaces and areas that block or attenuate satellite signals (e.g.
sudden satellite masking), which makes GPS signal reception
difficult or even impossible. To overcome the lack of continuity
of the GPS signals and in order to observe accelerations (and
hence forces) directly, low-cost MEMS-IMUs are integrated
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with GPS. Such a combination is suitable for sport’s application
because of their small size and limited cost. Also, the
GPS/MEMS-IMU integration enables accurate determination of
the position, velocity and acceleration (Grewal et al., 2007;
Titterton and Weston, 2004).
Surveying, Positioning And Navigation (SPAN) group at RMIT
University in collaboration with the Australian Institute of Sport
and Catapult Innovation Pty Ltd. has embarked an innovative
development of a smart real-time athlete monitoring and
coaching system since early 2003. This paper presents recent
developments of the integrated sensors system. Performance of
the low-cost code-only and carrier phase GPS modules is
evaluated using high-end GPS systems. Two prototype systems
are then introduced. Finally, a typical sport application is
illustrated.
2. DEVELOPMENT OF PROTOTYPE SYSTEM
This research commenced in 2001 from the Australian
Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Micro Technology,
under Project 2.5 "Interface Technologies for athlete
Monitoring". Established in July 1999 with a seven year grant,
the CRC for Micro Technology has four major research areas:
fabrication technology; microdevice packages; safety and health;
and micro-fluidic devices (CRC microTechnology, 2003). The
aim of the Project 2.5 is to develop unique monitoring
equipment that is essentially unobtrusive, so that the athlete is
virtually unaware of its presence in training and competition.
The Project 2.5 initially investigates the feasibility using GPS
to aid inertial devices for position, velocity and acceleration
(PVA) determination in real-time. The positional information is
then combined with other athlete physiological information and
integrated into a dedicated electronic device for package and
analysis, and relayed to the coach. The continuous monitoring
of three-dimensional PVA of the athlete with a very high update
rate and accuracy is achieved through an integration of GPS, an
IMU/INS for athlete physiological information, a data
communication mechanism, and interactive visual control using
a Geographical Information System (GIS) (Wu et al., 2007).
Table 1 outlines the major phases of the system development
(Wu et al., 2007). The Stages I, II, III and IV have been
completed and stages V is under intensive development. In
stages I, II and III, the performance of low-cost GPS has been
evaluated using high-end GPS receivers. In stage IV, a
prototype system has been developed and used in rowing
training and coaching. In stage V, an upgraded system is
developed. The GPS chip, MEMS IMU and wireless
communication device have been integrated in the final
(compact) system. Online calculation and GIS services will be
also integrated in the future development to make the system
user friendly.
2.1 The Sport of Rowing
Rowing is a highly developed and becomes an increasingly
popular international sport. It combines a wonderful spectacle
with a heated competition. Rowing races usually cover a
distance of 2,000 m in river, canal or lake-type competition
environment in six lanes. To win the competition, athletes have
to qualify through four pre-determined rounds: the preliminary
round (heats), the repeat round (repechages), the semi-finals
and the finals. The "A" final determines the first six places and
the runners-up "B" final determines the next six places (i.e. 7th
to 12th positions). The number of rounds per event depends on
the number of crews taking part.
Stage Hardware Software PVAT
I iPAQ+PC, Genius
1, support circuit,
active/patch antenna
WCE and
Win2000/
XP based
software
Post-
processing,
low update
rate
II iPAQ, Genius 1,
support circuit,
active/patch antenna
WCE
based
software
Real-time,
low update
rate
III MCU, SuperStarII,
MCU built-in
support circuit,
patch antenna
MCU
based
firmware
Real-time,
high update
rate
IV
ROVER-2004:
Chip-level, Fastrax
GPS chips, built-in
circuit, active/patch
antenna, wireless
communication
MCU
based
firmware
Real-time,
high update
rate
V minimaxX:
Chip-level, GPS,
IMU and
magnetometer
chips, built-in
circuit, active/patch
antenna, wireless
communication
Win XP
based
software /
MCU
based
firmware
Real-time,
high update
rate
Table 1. Major development milestones of the smart integrated
tracking system (PVAT – Position, velocity,
acceleration and time)
The races are judged under the supervision of umpires, who are
members of the Jury for the event. The jury members are placed
at various locations on and off the competition course, such as
the starting line, where the races begin under the supervision of
the aligner and the starter; along the course of the race in the
competition lanes under the supervision of umpires; the
finishing line with the finish-line umpire; the identity
verification stage of the crews before their embarkation onto the
boats; the weighing-in of the athletes; the weighing-in of boats;
and, in general, in all areas directly related to the competition,
the athletes and their equipment (Athens Olympics, 2004).
(a) Sculling events (b) Sweep-oared events
Figure 1. Sculling (two oars used, one in each hand) and sweep-
oared (one oar with both hands) scenarios in Olympic
competition
There are 14 different boat classes raced in Olympic rowing.
These include eight sculling events in which two oars are used
(see Figure 1a), one in each hand and six sweep-oared events in
which the rowers use one oar with both hands (see Figure 1b).
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The sculling boat classes are the single, the double and the
quadruple sculls with crews of one, two or four athletes
respectively, as well as the lightweight double. The sweep row
categories include the pair, the four, the lightweight four (for
men only) and the eight with coxswain.
2.2 Rowing Phases and Monitoring
A rowing stroke is a precise movement with rowers using their
legs, back and arms to generate power. A stroke begins with the
placing of the blade in the water and ends with the re-emerging
of the blade from the water and positioning for another cycle.
The rowing stroke can be divided into four main phases: catch,
drive, finish and recovery (Isaacs and Mulligan, 1999; Rower's
World, 2003) (see Figure 2). These sequential phases must flow
from and into each other to produce a continuous and fluid
movement.
Figure 2. Schematic diagrams showing the four main sequential
phases (i.e. catch, drive, finish and recovery) in a
rowing stroke and the position of head, arm and legs of
the rower).
At the catch, the blade is placed into the water quickly with
minimal disturbance to the boat. The rower's arms are extended
outward, torso is tilted forward, and legs are compressed. A
good catch produces a minimal amount of back and front splash
and causes no check. The catches of all crews of a boat must be
identical. Out of step catches (unsynchronisation) causes
balance problems and reduce a boat's speed. The blade must be
fully squared to the water at the catch (ibid).
The boat gains its speed on the drive. In this part of the stroke,
the oarsman applies power to the oar with forces from arms,
back and legs, and swings his torso away from the stern of the
boat. The handle of the oar is pulled in a clean, powerful and
levelled motion towards the bow of the boat with a constant
force.
At the finish, the oarsman finishes applying power to the oar
handle, removes the blade from the water sharply, and feathers
the oar (rotate it by 90º) so that the blade becomes parallel to
the surface of the water.
At the recovery, rowers are given a brief rest to prepare for the
next stroke. The oarsman must slide towards the stern of the
boat and prepare the blade for the next catch. Crews exhibit an
approximate 2:1 ratio between the times spent on the recovery
and the times spent on the drive. At the end of the recovery, the
oar is gradually squared and prepared for the catch (Mickelson,
1979).
Understanding which movements should occur in each phase of
the stroke allows coaches to design effective conditioning
programs and evaluate rowing performance effectively (Seiler,
2003). Success in competitive rowing is achieved by taking the
shortest time to complete a course (usually 2000 m) which
directly links to the average velocity of the boat. Acceleration
is proportional to force since the boat is accelerated as it reacts
with the sweeping arc of the oar. Three factors affecting boat
velocity, power, length and rate, are important determinants of
rowing performance. The power provides how fast the boat
travels in a stroke, the length is associated with how far the boat
travels in each stroke and the rate striking provides how many
strokes are rowed per minute (Xiao et al., 2003). Therefore the
rower must achieve an optimal combination of high stroke
power, long stroke length and high stroke rate.
Figure 3 presents the stroke signals captured using geodetic-
type GPS receivers. It is demonstrated that the signals captured
provide a clear picture of the rowing stroke phases as described
above. In this particular stroke, the graph indicates that the
rower has harmonised well in his stroke cycle by using
appropriate time (1:2) in the catch and the drive.
Figure 3. Schematic rowing stroke signature captured from
high precision GPS measurements
2.3 Evaluation of Low-cost, Low Update Rate Code GPS
A number of critical factors contribute to the applicability of the
GPS system to sport applications. This includes the precision,
cost, volume and weight of the system, and its integration with
other sensors including accelerometers, communication
mechanism, and a personal digital assistant (PDA). Because of
the challenges of diverse applications and a broadening market,
the low-cost GPS has evolved significantly during the past
decade. Increasingly miniaturised device has been developed
into even wearable and embedded into other devices. For
financial consideration the tracking of a large number of
athletes requires the use of low-cost, single-frequency GPS
receivers. The current pricing of dual-frequency GPS receivers
means that their use will be restricted to a few athletes and
applications with high position-accuracy requirements (Wägli
and Skaloud, 2007). Thus, the research presented here
integrates low-cost single frequency GPS with other sensors
that take into consideration the high dynamics of the athletes
and their particular environment.
An important component of the research is to evulate the
performance of a low-code GPS receiver before it is integrated
into a sport application system. A rowboat test has been
conducted to compare the low-cost, code-only GPS receiver
with high-end dual-frequency receiver, Trimble 5700. The low-
cost, code-only GPS receiver used is a Genius 1 manufactured
by Rojone (2003), and based on SiRF GPS chipset. These two
types of GPS receiver are mounted on a rowboat and tested in a
rowing race course in Canberra, Australia.
Figure 4 shows the differences in velocity determined
simultaneously from the low-cost code-only GPS and the high-
end dual-frequency GPS. Assuming the carrier velocity from
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Post-Processing Kinematic (PPK) derived velocity has an
average accuracy in the order of ~0.03 m/s. The results confirm
that the accuracy specification of 0.1 m/s from the manufacturer
is correct for more than 95% of observations. It is demonstrated
that low-cost code-only GPS receivers can provide accuracy
position, velocity and acceleration information.
Figure 4. GPS velocity differences between code and RTK
solution
2.4 Evaluation of Low-cost, High Update Rate Carrier
Phase GPS
An athlete monitoring and coaching system with the
functionality to output PVA information at a high update rate
has been found necessary and essential in many sport
applications. The GPS velocity and acceleration can be derived
either in the position domain or the range domain using a
differentiator. As the GPS position is usually derived from the
pseudorange measurements, the position error is of the order of
several to tens of metres. The derived velocity and acceleration
are therefore very noisy and inaccurate. The position solution
derived from carrier phase measurements is much more
accurate and less noisy. But such a solution needs multiple
dual-frequency receivers, i.e. through forming double-
differenced carrier phase measurements to derive the baseline
solution. Such an implementation is too expensive and awkward
for a MEMS-based sensor system. The implementation in the
range domain is relatively sophisticated. The velocity and
acceleration can be derived from the Doppler measurements or
from the carrier phase measurements (Li et al., 2006). Another
benefit of the low-cost GPS receiver with carrier phase
measurement is that the accuracy of position can be improved
using the carrier smoothing technique. Carrier phase smoothing
is a process that combines the absolute but noisy pseudorange
measurements with the accurate but ambiguous carrier phase
measurements to obtain a good solution without the noise
inherent in pseudorange tracking through a weighted averaging
process (Misra and Enge, 2006).
To evaluate the performance of the low-cost, high update rate
carrier phase GPS, a mini-bus experiment is conducted in Yarra
Bend Park, Melbourne in 2003. A RTK GPS system (Trimble
5700 receivers) is again used for a “ground-truth” reference.
Obviously, the RTK solution is precise enough for this purpose
when evaluating the 10 Hz update rate GPS solution. A low-
cost, high update rate, carrier phase GPS is used in this system
to obtain the range velocity and acceleration. A Canadian
Marconi Company’s (CMC) SuperStar II GPS OEM board
(Novatel Inc., 2007) is used to form the hardware basis of the
system. The SuperStar II can provide PVA solution at a rate up
to 5 Hz as well as raw measurements (i.e. code, carrier phase
and signal-to-noise ratio) at a maximum rate of 10 Hz.
Figure 5 represents the position discrepancies (latitude and
longitude) between solutions derived from code-only and
carrier-smoothed measurements respectively (compared with
RTK solution again). The carrier-smoothed solution has
smoothing lines and the code-only solution is noisy. Figure 6
depicts the difference of two velocity solutions derived from the
10 Hz GPS receiver and RTK GPS solution respecively. The
result shows that the average and stand deviation of the
difference are 0.005 m/s and 0.088 m/s respectively. Because
the obstruction of buildings and trees in the urban environment,
the discontinuity of GPS solutions is evident.
Figure 5. Position differences between 10 Hz low-cost GPS
(code-only and carrier-smoothed solutions) and RTK
GPS solutions
Figure 6. Velocity differences between 10 Hz low-cost GPS
and RTK GPS solutions
It has clearly demonstrated that carrier-smoothed solution can
reduce the level of noise of code-only solution efficiently.
However, slow-variation errors such as SVs' ephemeris and
atmosphere errors are still present in the carrier-smoothed
solution.
2.5 Prototype Athlete Monitoring and Coaching Systems –
ROVER-2004 and minimaxX
In 2004, a prototype athlete monitoring and coaching system,
namely ROVER-2004, was developed initially for rowing
training and coaching (Zhang et al., 2004). Figure 7 shows the
prototype system, ROVER-2004, which integrates a low-cost
GPS and wireless communication. The GPS receiver used is a
Fastrax iTrax03 chip which is a low-cost single frequency
receiver with carrier phase measurements.
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Robust algorithms and associated software/firmware have been
developed using a number of special treatments to suit for
rowing-specific applications. These algorithms are evaluated
through a number of static and kinematical trials using high
precision RTK-GPS (Wu et al., 2007).
Figure 7. A compact prototype rower monitoring and coaching
system (ROVER-2004) with 10 Hz carrier GPS
capability and wireless communication.
As aforementioned, an athlete’s environment can change
dramatically between open spaces and areas where GPS signal
reception is difficult or even impossible due to obstruction. To
overcome the problem of GPS signal continuity and observe
accelerations directly, low-cost MEMS IMUs are integrated
with GPS chips. A new version of athlete monitoring and
coaching system, namely minimaxX, has been developed (Wu
et al., 2007).
Figure 8. A compact prototype athlete monitoring and coaching
system (minimaxX) with high update rate carrier phase
GPS capability and wireless communication
The minimaxX is designed as a low-cost, wearable and
integrated positioning device including a low-cost GPS, MEMS
IMUs, and three magnetometers aligned with three orthogonal
axes. The dimension of the minimaxX is approximately
8¯5¯4 cm (see Figure 8). The GPS receiver is a Fastrax
iTrax03 chip (Fastrax, 2007).
3. SPORT APPLICATIONS
The ROVER-2004/minimaxX systems were initially designed
for elite Australian athletes in both Athens Olympics and the
Lucerne International Rowing Regatta and now it has been used
across a large number of sport activities, including rowing,
canoeing, skiing, running, sailing, cycling and footballing etc.
(see Figure 9) (Wu et al., 2007; Zhang et al., 2004). The latest,
but typical Australian Football League application of the
minimaxX was launched in May 2007 (Wu et al., 2007). A
stream of new AFL specific functionalities has been developed.
For example, the minimaxX system has been coupled with a
powerful on board computer and long range wireless
communication for up to 100 units simultaneously, and it can
broadcast performance summaries for coaches or the media to
use in real time. Specific functionality has been developed for
real-time monitoring and post-training analyses of footballers.
The following discussion is concentrated on rowing application
in Olympics.
Figure 9. Some typical examples of ROVER-2004/minimaxX
systems’ sport applications (e.g. sailing, canoeing,
footballing, half pipe, rowing, mogul skiing, cycling
and skiing)
Figure 10. James Tomkins and Drew Ginn who won men’s pair
gold medal in Athens Olympics
The Athens 2004 Olympic Games Rowing events were held at
the Schinias Olympic Rowing and Canoeing Centre over a
period of nine competition days, from 14 to 22 August 2004. A
total of 550 athletes (358 men and 192 women) from all over
the world took part in 14 rowing events. 45 (28 men and 17
women) Australian rowers took part in 11 rowing events
(Athens Olympics, 2004). The ROVER-2004 was used by
Australian rowers prior to and during the Athens Olympic
Games. Three Olympic rowing medals were won by Australian
athletes. Figure 10 shows James Tomkins and Drew Ginn who
won men’s pair gold medal in Athens Olympics. The Beijing
2008 Olympic Games Rowing events will be held at Shunyi
Olympic Rowing-Canoeing Park on the side of Chaobai River
in Shunyi District of Beijing from August 9-17, 2008. A total of
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550 athletes (350 men and 194 women) from all over the world
will take part in 14 rowing events (Beijing Olympics, 2008).
We hope the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games will witness the
significant roles of geospatial science has played in sport
competition and improvement of our quality of recreational
activities
4. CONCLUSION
This paper presents the latest developments of a smart real-time
athlete monitoring and coaching system, which integrated a
low-cost GPS, MEMS IMUs, magnetometers and wireless
communication. The current developments of the system,
system design, validation and applications have been outlined.
The proof-of-concept trials are successful and the feasibility of
GPS technology to assist in elite athlete training has been
confirmed. Prototype systems have been developed and used at
the elite level across a large number of sports activities.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
This research is supported by the Australian Institute of Sport
Discretionary B Funding.
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1804
... Wearable systems have been applied in various studies as a convenient and efficient solution for sport activity monitoring [1]- [4]. These systems typically consist of one or more sensing units, which are attached to the body segments. ...
Conference Paper
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Abstract—This paper presents the design and development of STants, a low-cost, wearable system for monitoring lower body movements in long-term training sessions. Multiple miniaturized inertial measurement units (IMUs) are integrated into a pair of pants and socks using textile cables. This results in a light-weight and easy to use platform providing comfortableness and maximal movement flexibility for the user. A customized firmware for energy-efficient data acquisition, in addition to a selection of low-power components extends the autonomous operation time compared to traditional approaches. Power consumption and data quality (in terms of estimated joint angles) are assessed in different experiments, showing the potential use of the proposed platform within personal training scenarios.
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The ability to measure and record physiological and positional information associated with athletic movement in real-time is critical in the process of athlete training and coaching. Physiological information can be relatively easy to obtain using relevant detectors. However, high precision determination of the athletes' movement on-the-fly has been a challenging task. Traditionally, positional information can only be measured either in well-controlled situation in dedicated sport laboratories or using simulation devices. Much of the equipment is either too heavy, expensive or obtrusive, and multiple factors which are difficult to control have limited the use of sport-specific field testing. This paper introduces the development of a smart real-time athlete monitoring and coaching system, which integrates a low-cost GPS, Micro-Electro-Mechanical System (MEMS) inertial navigation units (IMUs), magnetometers and wireless communication in a concise way. The miniaturiased system was initially designed for elite Australian rowers in both Athens Olympics and the Lucerne International Rowing Regatta and now it has been tested and used across a large number of sport activities, including rowing, canoeing, skiing, running, sailing and footballing etc. The current developments of the system, system design, validation and applications are presented and further developments and commercialisation of the system are outlined.
Patent
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A device that navigates humans. It measures the distance and direction travelled, speed, height jumped, and three-dimensional motion of the foot while a person is walking or running. Accelerometers and rotation sensors are placed on the foot along with a processor that performs "strap-down" inertial navigation. Placing sensors on the foot allows one to perform "zero velocity updating" after each step. This removes drift in the sensors by making each step an independent calculations, thereby turning a systematic error into a random error. Accuracy can be achieved with inexpensive sensors. The output of the calculations are sent to the person or a central command center for display.
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This paper describes a prototype system for attitude and heading determination. A L1-only GPS receiver is integrated with microelectromechanical gyroscopes, accelerometers and magnetometers. In contrast to a multi-antenna/multi-receiver GPS attitude determination system, this system uses a single antenna/single receiver configuration to derive standalone velocity and acceleration solutions from the GPS L1 carrier phase measurements. No reference station is needed to form differences of carrier phase measurements for the velocity and acceleration calculation. The GPS- derived acceleration is further used in the attitude determination by combination with the three-dimension acceleration sensed by the accelerometers. The magnetometers sense the Earth's magnetic field intensity, and can give the heading estimation regardless of the status of the host platform. To satisfy real-time applications, infinite impulse response differentiators instead of finite impulse response differentiators are used to derive the acceleration from GPS. The algorithms have been implemented and their efficiency demonstrated by experiments.
Article
As with a growing number of athletes, competitive skiers are looking to GNSS technology to help evaluate and improve their performance. Positions logged during practice runs or races can be transformed into 3-D models of the exact trajectories skied to measure velocity, accelerations, and other performance variables. However, obstructions along a ski run, such as terrain and trees, can block satellite signals - suggesting a need to add low-cost inertial sensors to support continuous, accuracte and affordable positioning.
Article
Objective: To investigate the ability of statistical techniques to detect systematic changes in rowing technique during a rowing session and to discriminate between rowers of different abilities with and without back pain. Design: Statistical techniques were applied to kinematic datasets of elite level rowers, in order to construct an empirical model of the rowing stroke. Background: The size and complexity of datasets generated by biomechanical kinematics evaluations has led to opportunities for analysing pathology whilst introducing substantial challenges for statistical analysis. Methods: Spinal motion and load output of 18 International and National standard competitive rowers were monitored during ergometer rowing sessions. International rower data were used to construct an empirical model of this activity. Linear stroke models were derived using principal components and a generalized cross-validation procedure. Performance characteristics of the identified models were calculated for all rowing groups. The stroke model was applied to distinguishing pattern variations within and between rowers. A multivariate logistic regression analysis was carried out to examine the relationship between stroke model parameters on the incidence of low back pain. Results: 90% of the variability in the data was explained by the first three principal component variables. Stroke models with three basis functions were selected for each variable. The models performed well on the National rowers, providing validation of the models. A 2-variable model showed a significant difference between the rowing stroke characteristics of rowers with and without low back pain (P<0.01). Conclusions: A parsimonious collection of empirical models effectively describes motion and load characteristics of ergometer rowing. Patterns in rowing technique are found to be strongly associated with the incidence lower back pain. Relevance: Empirical statistical models can be used to track changes in rowing technique, and discriminate between different rowing groups. This may impact rowing training, and rehabilitation.
Article
Sports scientists require a thorough understanding of the energy demands of sports and physical activities so that optimal training strategies and game simulations can be constructed. A range of techniques has been used to both directly assess and estimate the physiological and biochemical changes during competition. A fundamental approach to understanding the contribution of the energy systems in physical activity has involved the use of time-motion studies. A number of tools have been used from simple pen and paper methods, the use of video recordings, to sophisticated electronic tracking devices. Depending on the sport, there may be difficulties in using electronic tracking devices because of concerns of player safety. This paper assesses two methods currently used to measure player movement patterns during competition: (1) global positioning technology (GPS) and (2) a computer-based tracking (CBT) system that relies on a calibrated miniaturised playing field and mechanical movements of the tracker. A range of ways was used to determine the validity and reliability of these methods for tracking Australian footballers for distance covered during games. Comparisons were also made between these methods. The results indicate distances measured using CBT overestimated the actual values (measured with a calibrated trundle wheel) by an average of about 5.8%. The GPS system overestimated the actual values by about 4.8%. Distances measured using CBT in experienced hands were as accurate as the GPS technology. Both systems showed relatively small errors in true distances.
Motion Anaysis System: US Patent Office
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Fyfe, K. R., Rooney, J. K., and Fyfe, K. W., 2001, Motion Anaysis System: US Patent Office, US6301964.
  • P Larsson
Larsson, P., 2003, Global Positioning System and Sport-Specific Testing: Sports Medicine, v. 33, no. 15, p. 1093-1101.
Functional Anatomy of the Rowing Stroke: Oarsman
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Mickelson, T. C., 1979, Functional Anatomy of the Rowing Stroke: Oarsman, v. 11, no. 3, p. 6-9.
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