Novel technology in sports biomechanics: some words of caution
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Several new technologies to measure biomechanics have come into existence, but how to make a decision on which one to use in practice and how to use it?
In this post, we'll have a look at new technologies in sports biomechanics and potential hurdles.
New technologies to measure biomechanics have been quite successful in the lab, but several considerations need to be taken into account when bringing them to the field.
These insights are based on the research of the University of San Francisco, University of Rome Foro Italico, Catholic University of Leuven, University of Limerick, Loughborough University, and Deakin University. Prof. Gerwyn Hughes et al. published the paper "Novel technology in sports biomechanics: some words of caution" (Full Text). Here are their key insights. 👇
For those who like a short text version of the authors' findings, here it is:
Did you know that many new technologies are used within biomechanics to measure motion and other human movement-related parameters, despite best practices before use being regularly overlooked?
This has been studied by researchers at the University of San Francisco, University of Rome Foro Italico, Catholic University of Leuven, University of Limerick, Loughborough University, and Deakin University. They have written an editorial about these novel technologies and highlighted the key factors to be considered in practice.
As a result, they found 3 key areas of insight:
1) Inertial sensors are becoming more prevalent and allow biomechanists to move from the laboratory to the field where athletes train and compete.
2) Software developers are starting to use the internal smartphone sensors to develop creative apps to use the phone as a wearable technology - yet the amount of validated apps is still limited.
3) Aside from obtaining usable information, the practical value, and human or automatic decision-making processes could be taken more into consideration.
They also found that there are a few key considerations for selecting, fixating, and using IMUs:
- Small mass and dimensions (minimal encumbrance and wobbling)
- Appropriate sensor full-scale range
- Countermeasures for sensor limitations
- Good fixation to avoid movement artifacts (checked regularly)
- Anatomical calibration routine
- Appropriate sampling frequency
Furthermore, smartphone apps should not yet be seen as a replacement for established equipment but are likely to become more accessible, accurate, and more widely used. Additionally, it is critical that the user understands the technology’s limitations, validity, reliability, and how to use it properly.
Researchers, businesses, and sports organizations can collaborate to improve the existing technologies and make sure that the user knows how to use the tools properly. This will result in better solutions with more practical value.
Reach out to STRN (as a practitioner, researcher, or R&D professional) and we will connect you with relevant partners.
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