Wireless Multi-Sensor Feedback Systems for SportsPerformance Monitoring Design and Development

University dissertation from Stockholm : KTH Royal Institute of Technology

Abstract: Wireless applications have become a common part of daily life. Whether it is mobile phones, the Wi-Fi router at home, the keycard which has replaced the car key, a radio frequency identification access system to a building or a Bluetooth headset for your computer or phone, the means of modern wireless data exchange is an omnipresent technology. In sports, the market is in its infancy for wireless, technical applications or gadgets. Only heart rate monitors and GPS watches are currently used by recreational athletes. Even though most of the larger sports equipment companies regularly launch new products related to sports performance monitoring and mobile phone technology, product innovation leaps are rare.In this work the design of a wireless sports performance measurement platform is presented. Using the example of kayaking, this platform is configured as a paddle performance measuring system, the Kayak XL System, which can monitor propulsive paddle force, paddle kinematics and boat velocity, interalia. A common mobile phone platform has been chosen as the user interface for this system. The design approach focussing on user requests, demands and expectations in combination with the process of iterative technical development are unveiled in this thesis. An evaluation of the system is presented and the work is finalised with an overview of further systems which have been designed based on the developed measurement platform. The Kayak XL System is a flexible system designed to be mounted onto any standard kayak paddle and installed in any competition kayak. Versatility, unobtrusiveness and usability were major design concerns. The developed system consists of four modules plus a software which has been designed for Android mobile phones. The phone communicates with each of the four modules trough Bluetooth radio. These four modules are also referred to as nodes and have specific measurement purposes. Two nodes have been designed to measure paddle force and kinematics, one node has the purpose to measure foot stretcher force and boat motion data, and the fourth node enables a more convenient method of calibrating paddle force measurement. The fourth node is therefore only needed prior to performance data acquisition. Results show that paddle and foot stretcher force can be measured with a resolution below 1N after calibration. Installing the paddle nodes on a previously configured paddle without repeated calibration is facilitated with the compromise of a doubled error margin. The default sampling frequency is set to 100 Hz and can, like all system parameters, be configured on the mobile phone. Real-time computation of complex performance parameters is only limited by the phone CPU. The system adds twice 109 g to the paddle and approximately 850 g to the kayak, excluding the mass of the mobile phone