New device helps weekend runners avoid injury

Members of a research team led by athletic performance professor Hsiang Tzyy-yuang, centre, hold running shoes fitted with an injury-prevention device at National Taiwan Normal University in Taipei. (Photo: CNA)

A team of sports researchers from National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU) have developed a brand new device designed to help infrequent joggers avoid injuries by detecting and transmitting signs of fatigue from the body to mobile communication devices.

The university team, led by Department of Athletic Performance professor Hsiang Tzyy-yuang found that the physical activity level of low-impact running can be estimated from the acceleration of the wrists, while the acceleration of ankles can be used to gauge the physical activity level of high-impact running.

The fatigue produced by excessive exercise causes the runner’s posture to change, which is the main cause of sports injuries, he said.

Hsiang said the device combines the use of an accelerometer and a gyroscope with Bluetooth technology. The accelerometer is used to determine the impact of body movements and changes in speed, whereas the gyroscope is used to determine the types of movements made by the user by detecting the speed of foot rotation.

Hsiang said the device can be placed inside users’ running shoes to detect how much exercise they have done. The device will send a warning message to users’ mobile phone if it detects signs of fatigue to remind users to adjust their posture or to stop running.

The technology will also be used by the sportswear manufacturer Nike to produce “smart” running shoes, the researchers said.

Aside from casual runners, Hsiang said athletes can use the device to gather training data, as they and their coaches can look at the data to see if they are making any progress.

“The digital device would show the athletes what they have gained from the training, which would enable them to determine what they should work on next,” he said.

[Via Taipei Times]

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