Irish Engineering Students Develop Movement Tracking Device With Applications For Skiing & Snowboarding

Irish Engineering Students Develop Movement Tracking Device With Applications For Skiing & Snowboarding

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Irish Engineering Students Develop Movement Tracking Device With Applications For Skiing & Snowboarding

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“Attached to the skates, the device can allow competitors and coaches to access real-time, precise data on jumps for the first time.”

A team at Munster Technological University in Ireland led by 21-year-old biomedical engineering student and figure skater, Shannon O’Shea, have developed a wearable device that assesses jumps by height, distance, speed, number of rotations and airtime. EleSkate’s clever design won the prestigious James Dyson Award and has obvious applications in the world of skiing and snowboarding allowing athletes and coaches to access real-time, precise metrics on jumps for the first time. Very cool. MORE INFO HERE.

James Dyson Award Summary:

WHAT IT DOES

EleSkate is a sports analysis device which assesses the figure skating jump based upon its most important metrics . The device fits seamlessly underneath the boot. The data obtained is displayed on EleSkates user friendly companion app.

INSPIRATION

Our project manager – Shannon O Shea – has been figure skating for the past 10 years. It is a sport which combines both artistry and athleticism and thats where our motto ‘Quantify Elegance’ stems from. A competition comprises of performing what is essentially a dance, known as a ‘programme’. The performance is scored technically, and artistically. Jumps make up the largest bulk of the technical mark. However, in everyday training there is no way to measure the jump, it is left up to subjective assessment.

HOW IT WORKS

The data is obtained by multi-axial analysis of the figure skater’s movements. This is achieved through the triple-axis accelerometer and triple-axis gyroscope located within the PCB Board SEN0142. In case of a failure the TP4050 module 5V sensor contains another triple axis accelerometer and gyroscope combination. The PCB Board SEN0142 is a programmable circuit board which is coded to convert this raw data to our desired metrics through mathematical formulas. The device is linked to the companion app through the use of Bluetooth connection embedded in the PCB Board SEN0142. EleSkate is powered by a Lithium ion 3.7V battery in combination with a step-up module in order to boost this voltage. A charging module is located within the device which allows the battery to be recharged. These components are housed in an injection moulded polymer casing and attached to the skater’s boot via a strap which is adjustable to several sizes.

DESIGN PROCESS

The idea started off as a brainstorm rough idea on how to assess the figure skating jump. This was sparked by our project managers involvement of the sport. We initially contacted several key members of the sport, including Olympic coaches such as Nicholas Perna, in order to assess interest. EleSkate was met with huge welcome by Mr.Perna and many others. The initial concepts were hand drawn sketches. When we were confident we had created a safe and effective design, we created renderings using AutoCad. Consideration into placement of the device when it is attached to the boot was paramount, as it was necessary to ensure it would not be dangerous or uncomfortable for the athlete. The size and shape of several boots was studied by our design team to ensure it would be suitable for all. The device fits seamlessly underneath the boot, snug to the heel. We chose environmentally friendly materials, using a CES package. As well as carrying out Anyus testing to ensure a strong device. Wiring and code was generated. Our companion app was then designed. A user friendly interface was designed, with a fatigue gauge to act as an overtraining combatting measure. We continually worked on our virtual prototype for months until it met a high standard.

HOW IT IS DIFFERENT

Many of our closest competitors are intrinsically unsafe to be used on skates. In many cases they work out to be much more expensive than our product. There are no devices on the market which are specifically designed for use in figure skating and which provide the key metrics required to assess skating performance. Apex Skating (A part of the Apex athlete tracking/performance analysis company) – Analyses elements of skating to optimise skating technique, specifically for ice hockey players – Relies on video motion capture technology – Very expensive – Not portable Dartfish – Good indication of jump positions – Instant breakdown of positions – Cannot give a metric, just view of positions – Subject to unreliable camera angles Vertec Jump Measure – Evaluates and improves reach and power of jumps – Motivates the skater to jump higher – Mechanical system – Too dangerous for use on skates – Expensive at €1000 – Cannot stimulate rotation

FUTURE PLANS

Minimization is key to EleSkate. Our prototype is designed with an aurdio, which we plan to replace with a custom PCB, reducing the weight of the device by 70g. The EleSkate team has established a business plan to cover the span of ten years. We estimate a net present value of approximately thirty million euro over ten years considering a market penetration of 1%. On going research and development is paramount to EleSkate. We will continue to develop and improve our device. We plan to tailor our product to other sports with similar demands such as gymnastics and snowboarding.

AWARDS

The EleSkate team won the award of ‘MTU Entrepreneurs of the Year’ in the 2021 MTU prize for innovation. This provided us with 5,000 euro of funding for our design. We were chosen as 1/10 of 1000 groups to take part in Enterprise Ireland’s ‘Student Entrepreneur Awards’ finals. We were awarded 1,500 euro.

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