Internet of sports in the ski slope

Thu 03 May 2018 09:21

Imagine watching a movie on a skier in the slope, and the same image rolls important measurement data about the skier. For example, the numbers may show if the pressure is on the front or the back of the ski, how the speed changes, the time between gates and more. This can then be used by coaches and skiers to make adjustments to materials, in technique and training to win important hundreds.

Home of Internet of Sports, Sveriges alpina nationalarena i Åre

This technology is becoming reality and tests of sensors and systems were made at the alpine national arena in Åre on April 9-13 with parts of the Alpine Ladies team. On April 11, Estelle Alphand and Lisa Blomqvist were subjects, and on April 12, there were Lin Ivarsson, Magdalena Fjällström and Ylva Stålnacke who went with sensors on the slope.

Matej Supej rests after successfull tests in the slope.

Matej Supej, Professor at Ljubljana University, who is the case manager in the market- and research project "Centre of Health Innovation – Home of Internet of Sports", says they want to make as realistic tests as possible. Research and development take place in cooperation with the national team and their goal is to find methods to win important benefits for future championships. Not least the Alpine World Championships in Åre 2019.

– The tests are always done on the slopes; we need the realistic environment where the product will be used. The skiers are riding with pressure sensitive insoles in their ski boots and GNSS sensors on their backs, says Matej Supej.

Parts of the ladies national team are testpersons.

– The latest sensor technology has become cheaper, smaller and more reliable. Now with the Swedish Alpine national team, we use the very latest GNSS technology in a way that has not been done before. It gives us measurement data to look at tactics for different paths with varying terrain and structure. We simply get what is impossible to see with the naked eye, says Matej Supej.

About GNSS:
GNSS stands for Global Navigation Satellite System. The system uses positioning satellites (and timing). Global Positioning System (GPS), owned by the US military, is one of several existing GNSS systems, the technoogy used in this project uses also GLONASS (Russian) and Galileo (EU) with their infrastructure of satellites etc.

The three levels of GNSS technology tested in the project differ in accuracy. Level one measures the position with an accuracy of one centimeter. At level two it's about one to ten centimeters and level three is basically the same technology and accuracy as in mobile phones.

Research and product development at the same time

The national team coaches have been involved in the start of the project, it is their needs that is the basis for the development of the technology. The challenge is to create software that automatically analyzes and presents measurement data in real time.

- I think it is extremely rewarding to be able to help with the understanding of very sensitive and small things that can improve the performance of the skiers. If you can also prove these things scientifically, it is even more exciting, says Matej Supej.

Because it's not just about product development, it's research at the highest level. The scientific publications in the area are increasing enormously. In the team around the Internet of Sports there are at least five or six scientific articles going on right now. The tests made lead to new knowledge, methods for improving national team performance and product development. There is applied research and basic research at the same time.
But it is not only elite skiers and top coaches who will benefit from the research and technology development carried out in Åre. The team works at the same time with three levels where the elite level that the national team will receive is the highest level. What can be interesting for us is the scaled down products in level two and three where commercialization to towards public health/ exercise is the focus.

The team has gathered a lot of data to analyse.

It can be about products and applications that can make young people interested in sports through the connection to technology. But it can also be about developing products that help older people to work out to avoid falling injuries and other things.

– Our tests have been extremely successful and now we have a lot of work to process all measurement data. The entire system should be scaled down to work in simpler systems that can be used in consumer products. In practice, it is about developing computer programs that can automate the analysis of all measurement data. Here we will also use knowledge from external companies.

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The page was updated 5/3/2018