Technology in Sport Part 3: Quantification (Measurement)

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      • Mike Young
        Keymaster
        Mike Young on #15517

        In the second installment of this series on technology in sport, I addressed how coaches can use technology to time various aspects of performance to better enhance training and analysis of competition and training performances. As I mentioned in that installment, timing is fundamental to the sport of track and field and can be similarly useful in the training and testing of athletes in other spor

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        ELITETRACK Founder

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        Participant
        David on #80062

        Hi Mike,
        Great article. Very comprehensive, but still short and focused. I just wish I could be as concise as you are.

        -Height with light beams:
        This could be done using the basic technology of the timing gates photoelectric cells, but much more complex circuit and software. What about completely replacing the physical bar used in the vertical jumps with a hologram or a laser beam?

        -Distance with light beams.
        The same technique as in the vertical jumps, but in the horizontal plane. The Optjojump is simply a glorified version of the gadget I described above. The perfect solution would be some sort of surface, like a Mondo track mat runway with embedded touch sensors every 5cm or so. The data would be collected by a central processing unit and sent wirelessly to the coach’s UMPC/MID/PDA.

        -Panned/3D camera arrays:
        Watch this 4 part documentary with Donald Thomas and Stefan Holm.

        You’d also be able to get instant feedback on things like peak height during throws or jumps which might have both fan and coach appeal.

        I absolutely agree. Slow-motion replay doesn’t cut it anymore. It would be nice to be shown runway velocity, takeoff angles, Forces, Heart Rate, etc…

        I’ve recently discovered that it’s possible to use the PS3 camera with a PC, installing hacked drivers[/url]. This camera is able of doing 640×480@60fps and 320×240@100fps, unlike all other webcameras, that are limited to 30fps! Not bad for a $40 camera! Imagine an array of these connected to a central unit like a Laptop, you could also connect a series of home made timing gates to measure runup speed and a force platform on the takeoff spot/board for touch times. The laptop would be running open-source software that did simple biomechanical analysis. This would then be transmitted to the coach’s UMPC, like a Viliv S5. The whole process would take just a few seconds. I believe this is the best possible way to give feedback to the athlete.
        But it’s not the only effective way of doing it. About 2 weeks ago I attended a workshop in LJ/TJ with Joao Ganço, the coach of Nelson Evora, the World and Olympic champion on the TJ. I was amazed at the simplicity of his training methods. He doesn’t use any kind of technology gadgets on a daily basis. They only do biomechanical analysis on the major competition venues. He relies on his observational capacity and he gives the athletes very useful tips and cues. The proof is that Evora has steadily and consistently increased his technical abilities. Namely the use of the arms to balance his posture.

        I would also like to hear more of dbandre’s projects. I found this article[/url] and find it interesting.

        In a later installment I’ll look in to how coaches can use technological gadgets to measure kinetic and kinematic qualities not typically available to coaches.

        Will this be the last part of the series(4.Training and Performance Enhancement)? Because I have some questions about the use of goniometers/biofeedback and don’t know exactly where they fit in the thin line between analysis and training methodology.

        ps: Can you please tag this article with the word “technology”, it will be easier to find it that way. Thanks.

      • Mike Young
        Keymaster
        Mike Young on #80066

        Hi Mike,
        Great article. Very comprehensive, but still short and focused. I just wish I could be as concise as you are.

        Are you as hair-brained as I am? It took me 2 weeks to finally get around to writing Part 3!

        -Height with light beams:
        This could be done using the basic technology of the timing gates photoelectric cells, but much more complex circuit and software. What about completely replacing the physical bar used in the vertical jumps with a hologram or a laser beam?

        I actually mentioned this in the entry. It would require photoelectric cells that are VERY small so they could stacked together closely. I actually mentioned replacing or adding on to the bar measurement 3 years ago here.[/url]

        -Distance with light beams.
        The same technique as in the vertical jumps, but in the horizontal plane. The Optjojump is simply a glorified version of the gadget I described above. The perfect solution would be some sort of surface, like a Mondo track mat runway with embedded touch sensors every 5cm or so. The data would be collected by a central processing unit and sent wirelessly to the coach’s UMPC/MID/PDA.

        This would be awesome. I know there have been problems with reliability on the few occasions I used optojump so to make it permanent would require some significant improvements.

        -Panned/3D camera arrays:
        [url=https://www.youtube.com/profile?user=Hutsimpel87&view=videos]Watch this 4 part documentary with Donald Thomas and Stefan Holm.[/url]

        Thanks for sharing this. Are you able to translate?

        I’ve recently discovered that it’s possible to use the [url=https://www.us.playstation.com/PS3/Accessories/SCPH-98047]PS3 camera[/url] with a PC, installing [url=https://alexpopovich.wordpress.com/2008/10/17/sony-ps3eye-camera-touchlib-directshow-and-more/]hacked drivers[/url]. This camera is able of doing 640×480@60fps and 320×240@100fps, unlike all other webcameras, that are limited to 30fps! Not bad for a $40 camera! Imagine an array of these connected to a central unit like a Laptop, you could also connect a series of home made timing gates to measure runup speed and a force platform on the takeoff spot/board for touch times. The laptop would be running open-source software that did simple biomechanical analysis. This would then be transmitted to the coach’s UMPC, like a [url=https://www.umpcportal.com/2008/08/viliv-s5-mid]Viliv S5[/url]. The whole process would take just a few seconds. I believe this is the best possible way to give feedback to the athlete.

        In my experience most computers couldn’t handle it. I’ve tried 2-4 camera simultaneous collections at 30 fps and 60 fps and even super laptops skip frames and have big lags at the record command.

        But it’s not the only effective way of doing it. About 2 weeks ago I attended a workshop in LJ/TJ with Joao Ganço, the coach of Nelson Evora, the World and Olympic champion on the TJ. I was amazed at the simplicity of his training methods. He doesn’t use any kind of technology gadgets on a daily basis. They only do biomechanical analysis on the major competition venues. He relies on his observational capacity and he gives the athletes very useful tips and cues. The proof is that Evora has steadily and consistently increased his technical abilities. Namely the use of the arms to balance his posture.

        I think this could be true for most U.S. coaches as well. To be perfectly honest I very rarely use technology DURING training sessions as I’ve found most uses to be distracting and cumbersome.

        [quote]In a later installment I’ll look in to how coaches can use technological gadgets to measure kinetic and kinematic qualities not typically available to coaches.

        Will this be the last part of the series(4.Training and Performance Enhancement)? Because I have some questions about the use of goniometers/biofeedback and don’t know exactly where they fit in the thin line between analysis and training methodology.[/quote]No I’m going to have one or two more in the Quantification category. Goniometers will go in the next section about measuring kinematics not discussed in parts 3a and 3b.

        ps: Can you please tag this article with the word “technology”, it will be easier to find it that way. Thanks.

        Thanks for pointing it out. I don’t know how I missed that one.

        ELITETRACK Founder

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        Participant
        RussZHC on #80146

        David: 2nd thanks for the links, I knew there were more parts to that series (incl Powell) but had never been able to find them… 🙂

        Related to the topic at hand, for many of us I feel the difficulty will be all the lighting issues as illustrated by the “pan array” part of linked video…I have started to use one of the Casio cameras mentioned in “Technology in Sport Part 2…” and while it does “work” without additionally lighting there is a lot of “noise” due to having to use such a high speed…related to what Mike said, for day to day use having to drag lights and stands to training would just be too much and if you do from time to time the setting is quite “unnatural”.

        Next relates to the video link but not the topic of quantification.

        Now my translation skills are poor but for me the interesting detail is that there is almost an “undercurrent”/reading between the lines that is very similar to the same “background” feeling of the Powell/Gay video by the same group AND also the same “feeling” in the Busemann article (related to the recent 4th best ever long jump, elsewhere on this site).

        It has to do with changing athletes. The gist of the Busemann commentary was that there is not a lot to be gained by trying to copy what world class or elite level athletes do if you do not fall into the same body type, skill level, level of experience, strength etc. etc. and the video shows that those at the very elite levels can arrive there by very different routes (it is that human interest side that is driving these feature films but while that applies, I am talking about the more technical aspects).

        Bottom line is you more or less have to go with what you got. Towards the end of
        Part 5, they clearly illustrate Thomas’s take off point has moved in by centimeters with the implication being he is doing this in an attempt to find more height BUT with the implication also being that he may in fact be changing something that for him will not lead to improvement or gaining an advantage compared to what he does now. IF Holm did what Thomas does or Thomas did what Holm does (in terms of adapting their technical aspects to what the other does or trying to duplicate what the other does in training) neither one would be having the success they can now enjoy.

        This of course means that there is no point in everyone copying say Powell’s toe drag or that Busemann would gain more distance by going to some hitch kick (or as the article stated unless you are jumping 8+ the “simpler” techniques will work well).

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        Participant
        David on #80239

        I can´t translate the videos, but someone has provided a partial translation on another thread related do the same videos here.

        -Russ:

        Is the Casio camera usable? Is the image any good? If it is dark you can increase the brightness with post processing software.
        And if it is usable, is it useful? What palpable benefits has it brought to your training process?

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        Participant
        RussZHC on #80249

        David:

        The Casio FH 20 was usable BUT for the feature I was after, the 210fps, I found in the indoor situation I have and the settings that almost had to be used in order to have enough light entering there was, IMO, too much “noise”. The images were quite a bit clearer but the overall “look” of the video and of the stills was remarkably like from a video camera [Panasonic PVGS 34, about 3 years old once run through Virtual Dub (interlace filter dup 1)] with way better individual frame clarity.

        The lighting indoors here seems almost to come in “waves” but at the 210fps rate they match almost exactly every second mouse click (which I can only assume is every second frame), light/dark, light/dark but I found that using Virtual Dub motion blur filter that blends adjacent frames together, the visual is pretty good if just played (that “wave” is gone so it does not bother the eyes…sort of like the computer screen flicker when they are in the background on TV, that is gone with the filter) BUT that in turn also meant the a very little bit of the clarity of the subject/athlete was gone as well as you are effectively “removing” every second frame, so say equivalent of 100fps so still better than what the usual mini DV camera can put out. The FH 20 has a feature 30-210fps but that is not an adjustable range rather you start recording at 30fps (so lesser space on the storage card) and then “flip” to 210fps when you want the slow motion. Not having tried it, to me the greater amount of adjustment possible with the FX1 (I think it has 100fps for example) would be more useful and for me it may also have solved some of the lighting problems. I should mention that this camera also has a few settings for light by type and that can make a difference (the original LoLo video has that “yellow/brown” cast to it? that is one specific type of light source); I found when I tried to use the “tungsten” setting (the lights indoors here are a mix of types) the amount of light flared dramatically, so much so that the video was useless and there are so many things to adjust, one combination maybe exactly correct but it could take literally years to find that combination.

        I ended up returning it, since I just could not see myself hauling lights back and forth (there is no storage available for that type of thing and I am indoors at least half of each year), what I did not get a chance to try was the “continuous” 40fps and that may have been just that much better than video at 30fps as you can do that with 7mp per frame.

        The lighting is a very specific case so certainly still consider it, I found the transfer speed from camera to card (Extreme III Sandisk) very fast and the quality of stills, especially at either 9.1mp or 8.0mp, very good. The reviews of the camera generally back this up in that the noise increases greatly past about ISO 400. Oh, the “odd” thing was the video recording “keeps” the last setting of some features you were using for stills (because not all features function with HS video) so you need to be careful but, again, it also adds literally hundreds of other possible adjustments that could “work”. I did not try the Hi Def video though that too may have solved some problems, at least partially.

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        Participant
        David on #81728

        This would be awesome. I know there have been problems with reliability on the few occasions I used optojump so to make it permanent would require some significant improvements.

        There is a new version of the Optojump! It’s called the Optojump next!

        It seems to have been totally redesigned. The 1cm precision and the modular system up to 100m make it one step closer to the perfect setup. I wish I had the re$ources to buy 30m of this thing! if any of you manage to get your hands on some, make sure to let us know how well it works.

        They have a whole website dedicated to the Optojump next.
        Watch the photos and videos!

        https://www.optojump.com

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        Participant
        RussZHC on #82743

        Just saw an episode of “Daily Planet” (#165 I believe) on the Discovery channel and it was all about science and sport.

        Three items of interest:
        Australian rules football using GPS to track athletes (as Mike had mentioned in the original blog) as to direction, time, path but also impacts (and rating of same) but also now using it as part of the information they broadcast to fans…
        looks to be the address of the one in they featured

        sort of a wireless package of various electronic “gizmos” that attach, often via velcro straps (similar but a bit larger than a wrist watch) plus software that feeds back to a computer and one of the illustrations during the program was the stability of an athlete doing what could be called a standing “A” and then switching feet…but there is a whole series of measurements being taken…FAB motion analysis

        Not measurement but in the same TV program, an item called “CORE shorts” which appear to be an “upgrade” to the shorts various manufactures produce that are both compression and feature strategic reinforcements/webbing……originally designed to help prevent groin injuries in football players they have 3 “levels” of increasingly more resistant elastic following the various lines of muscles in the torso/core

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