Sensors in Sportswear Can Help Athletes Improve Performance

 
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2005 3:27 pm    Post subject: Sensors in Sportswear Can Help Athletes Improve Performance Reply with quote

As if being bawled at by the coach during training were not bad enough, sports stars may also end up being pushed around by their own clothing.

Haptic sports garments, which use tactile signals to prompt the wearer to optimise their technique or to use specific muscle groups, are now being tested on rowers.

Eventually, sensors in the garments will measure the speed at which the rower moves and how they coordinate their leg and body movements. If the rower deviates from the optimum speed or rhythm, pads worn at the ankle and waist start vibrating at the correct stroke intervals to help the rower recapture the winning action.

"The feedback can be understood by the person much more quickly than if they are getting shouts from a human trainer," says Hendrik-Jan van Veen of the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research in Soesterberg, who is leading the team developing the clothing. So far, the clothes have been tested on athletes using rowing machines in the laboratory.

The researchers have also designed a vest for speed-skaters with vibrating pads at the shoulder and hip, which provides instant feedback on skaters' movements as they hurtle around the rink. Dutch skating coach Jac Orie is testing it on his team.

Similar clothing could alert soccer players to posture problems as they strike the ball. PSV Eindhoven's coach, Guus Hiddink, has expressed an interest, so the researchers are developing comfortable clothing for soccer players that can be triggered by remote control.

Source: New Scientist website.
URL: http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=mg18825196.000
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