Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

A View from Brittany Sauser

A Sensor to Improve Athletic Performance

By gathering biomechanical data, a novel sensor worn behind the ear could better an athlete’s technique.

  • September 14, 2007

Technique plays a significant role in an athlete’s performance–a baseball batter’s stance can determine whether he grounds out or hits a home run, while a quarterback’s footwork in the pocket sets him up for either a touchdown pass or a sack. To help athletes optimize their performance, coaches use their eyes or a video camera to study their movements and find where they can improve. Now researchers at Imperial College London, led by professor Guang Zhong Yang, say they have a device that can improve sporting performance by gathering biomechanical data.

From the press release:

Cufflink-sized and clipped behind the wearer’s ear, the sensor is unique in two key respects. First, it does not hinder performance, yet can gather unprecedentedly wide-ranging and useful data about posture, stride length, step frequency, acceleration, response to shock waves traveling through the body etc.

Second, when worn by an athlete during training, it can transmit the information for immediate visual display on a handheld device or laptop used by their coach at the trackside. The coach can then harness the data to shape the on-the-spot advice and instruction they give the athlete regarding technique. By instantly adding to the value of every training session, the sensor can therefore deliver better sporting performance.

The sensor, which researchers say will enter widespread use within 12 to 18 months, is currently undergoing trials with U.K. athletes and is initially going to be worn by sprinters. The technology was presented yesterday at the BA Festival of Science in York, England.

As a former collegiate athlete and in light of all the performance-enhancing methods that both athletes and coaches are now using, I am anxious to see the results of Yang’s studies.

Cut off? Read unlimited articles today.

Become an Insider
Already an Insider? Log in.
Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Basic.
  • Insider Basic {! insider.prices.basic !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Six issues of our award winning print magazine, unlimited online access plus The Download with the top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website

    The Download: our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation

    Bimonthly print magazine (6 issues per year)

/3
You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. This is your last free article this month. for unlimited online access. You've read all your free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for more, or for unlimited online access. for two more free articles, or for unlimited online access.