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Below is a summary of student engagement awards, funded by the ISEA.


Use of auxetic foams for low bulk, high mobility, protective equipment for mountain biking

The funding provided by the ISEA allowed me to attend the 2018 International Auxetics Conference in Sheffield, to present a poster as part of the AuxetNet Young Reaserchers Forum. The funding was used to cover my registration fee for the event, and without it it would not have been possible for me to attend.

My poster presentation was on the “use of auxetic foams for low bulk, high mobility, protective equipment for mountain biking”, and was a summary of the work carried out for my Undergraduate Dissertation at Sheffield Hallam in Sport Technology. Presenting this work allowed me to receive feedback from a broad range of other delegates from around the world, feedback that shall be invaluable as I continue my research and studies in my Sports Engineering masters degree. The conference also opened my eyes to just how broad a subject area auxetics is. Having only worked with auxetic foams to date, it was extremely interesting to gain some knowledge of other auxetic structures, and begin to think about how they may also be applicable to sports equipment design, in particular sports PPE. There were a number of presentations made on the possible use of auxetic materials in sports equipment, proving to me that this is very much an area for continued research as a sports engineer.

The breaks throughout the day, and evening meals, gave the perfect opportunity to discuss with other researchers about their work, and think about how it could be useful for my future studies, and to discuss my findings to potentially help them. On the penultimate night we were treated to a gala dinner in the cutlers hall in Sheffield city centre. Having lived in Sheffield for the past 4 years now it was interesting to experience a building that I have never had the opportunity to visit properly in my time here. The dinner, and pub later, provided the opportunity to get to know the other delegates on a more personal level, rather than purely academic, and as a result strengthen my relationship with these contacts who I am sure I shall have contact with when conducting future work.

I would like to thank the ISEA for the Student Engagement award, as it provided me with this experience that has set me up well for my continued study in Sports Engineering. It has also prepared me well for future conferences that I shall be required to present at, as I progress through my intended career of research and development of sport protective equipment.

University: Sheffield Hallam University
Award Value: £500


Presenting: ‘Plantar Pressure Distridution through auxetics and conventional foam sheets’

The ISEA student engagement award enabled me to attend the 9th International Conference and 14th Workshop on Auxetics and Related System with ‘Negative’ Characteristics held at Sheffield Hallam University from September 10th-13th 2018 for an oral presentation. I presented the work carried out between the Materials and Engineering Research Institute and the Centre for Sports Engineering Research at Sheffield Hallam University supervised by Andy Alderson and Olly Duncan during an international placement from Loyola ICAM College of Engineering and Technology, Chennai, India. The grant covered my travel to the conference and other expenses.

Delegates from all around the world came to attend this conference. I had a great opportunity to interact with professors and students from various other disciplines in the field of science and engineering. It made me see how a simple concept can be used in so many different fields. Even though I was nervous about the oral presentation as it was my first conference, the delegates easily understood what I was trying to convey. I was also able to answer their questions and I got a few more points for future work. I received valuable feedback from everyone about the presentation too. This has encouraged me to follow a career in research. I am now looking forward to the next conference that is in Poznan, Poland next year, with more work to contribute.

University: Loyola ICAM College of Engineering and Technology, India and Sheffield Hallam University, UK
Award Value: £500


Presenting:’The effects of various customised mouthguard designs on physiological parameters and comfort in male boxers’

The ISEA student engagement award enabled me to attend the 6th International Congress on Sport Sciences Research and Technology Support by covering the travel and accommodation costs. This year, University of Seville was chosen to host the conference on 20-21st September.

Injury prevention in sport was one of the topics included in the programme, which directly correlated to my work on sports mouthguards. Being towards the end of my PhD, it was valuable experience to present part of my research at an international conference and exchange ideas for potential collaboration with other professionals in the field. The feedback I received was very encouraging and further motivated me to continue my work.

The conference was very well organised and interactive. All delagates managed to create both very friendly and professional environment during the lecture sessions, which helped creating interesting discussions. Also, everyone who presented a poster had the chance to tell us more about it in 5-10 minutes. I thought this was a very good approach to run the posters session. This gave me the chance to meet and exchange contacts with someone who wants to start similar research to mine. Additionally, talking to other PhD students and academics from countries such as Australia, Norway, Ireland, Japan, Portugal, Russia and more allowed me to learn more about various experiences in academia and career in research at other parts of the world.

I would like to thank the ISEA for giving me the opportunity to present my work abroad. I managed to create some new contacts and had a great time visiting Seville.

University: Manchester Metropolitan University
Award Value: £500


Auxetic Protective Equipment

I am approaching the final year of my PhD and as such giving an oral presentation was an excellent opportunity for me to disseminate my work amongst academics and researchers in the wider community. I gained some useful feedback which will feed in to the progression of the study I am currently working on. Equally, the conference brought together the ideas and developments of researchers working in various industries across the auxetics community, which helped me to think outside the box about the ways that I currently use auxetic materials in my research. In addition, as my research is based at the Manchester Fashion Institute and many of the other delegates are in engineering, sciences and technical textiles, I found the breaks in the conference particularly useful for generating conversation with researchers in other fields as well as gaining feedback and new ideas. Presenting my work in a professional environment also prompted interest from delegates working in the textile industry, who have discussed the potential of working with myself through the university on a project in the future. In particular, the delegates have offered to share the contacts that they have at sports brands which may be useful for me when I start applying for jobs and looking for opportunities in the sports industry.

The student engagement award has enabled me to attend the Auxetics 2018 conference at Sheffield Hallam University and present the work that I have produced over the past two years. From this experience I have constructive feedback and generated new ideas which will largely help me to shape and progress the final studies of my PhD.

University: Manchester Metropolitan University
Award Value: £459.20


Presenting: “Validation of a finite element modelling process for auxetic structures in sports applications”

The ISEA kindly granted me the full funding of £500, which enabled me to attend the 9th International Conference and the 14th International Workshop on Auxetics and Related System with ‘Negative’ Characteristics. The conference was held at Sheffield Hallam University between the 10th and 13th September and the ISEA funding enabled me to pay the registration/attendance fees, as well as train tickets for the commute between Manchester and Sheffield each day.

The conference was well organised with delegates from over 15 countries presenting their work. I was therefore given the opportunity to present my latest findings (and receive valued feedback) to an array of experts from different areas within the auxetics field, which I enjoyed greatly, and it has provided fresh inspiration to continue working hard on my research. The conference also enabled me to network with various delegates who work on similar topics, such as finite element modelling and additive manufacturing. Hopefully, some form of collaboration can arise from this networking. I am looking forward to attending the next auxetics conference in Poznan, Poland, in 2019, where I should be able to deliver some key and final findings from my PhD. Some of the feedback received during the conference has also provided me with some alternative viewpoints on my research, which hopefully I can investigate in more detail in the coming months.

Despite living relatively close to Sheffield, I have never had the chance see the city properly. Fortunately, we were taken on a very informative and entertaining walking tour on one of the afternoons and even saw a building whose design looked as it was inspired by auxetic structures. The conference meal at the famous ‘Cutlers Hall’ was also an experience that won’t be forgotten in a hurry. All of this was made possible by the full support of the ISEA and meant that I could completely immerse myself in the experience of an international conference once more – thank you very much.

University: Manchester Metropolitan University
Award Value: £500


Spinfortec conference in Garching, Munich

As a master student at the UAS Technikum in Vienna we annually have a measurement week in winter where students can choose topics to work on with own interest. The topic I was working on with some colleges had the title “in-situ tests with touring skins”. Focus of this project was to detect the static and sliding friction coefficient considering different touring skins in the glide and the grip direction of a skin. We had companies sponsoring us with touring skins and supporting our project.

Finally I got accepted at the spinfortec conference in Munich to present our project. At the congress I had the chance to attend a lot of interesting presentations regarding sports engineering, biomechanics and sport analytics. I am continuously inspired how wide the topic is I am studying for. I met professors from different universities in Germany and had a talk with representatives of different companies who were sponsor of the congress. Presenting my work at the conference allowed me to improve my presenting skills, handle better my nervousness and also broadened my network with people of the sports engineering industry. I had a talk with one of the professors after my presentation and he was really interested and told me about similar studies he undertook. The most important thing about attending conferences is networking! The talks I had have all little relevance to my future career. By supporting my participation of the congress I covered all the costs regarding entrance fee, travel costs as well as accommodation. I also could take part in the “munich evening” where everybody of the conference (lecturers and students) had dinner together at a relaxed atmosphere. Thank you for supporting me!

University: UAS Technikum Wien
Award Value: £500


The effect of the bend on global kinetic and temporal variables during the block phase of the sprint start

The ISEA student Engagement Award was used to help subsidise my transport and accommodation costs while visiting German Sport University Cologne to loan custom-made instrumented starting blocks and corresponding software to be used for my 1st PhD study.

As a result of the trip, a collaboration is emerging with Dr Steffen Willwacher, firstly to investigate the differences between global kinetic (average external block power and ground reaction forces (GRFs) in all three planes of motion) and temporal (contact time in the blocks) variables during the block phase of the sprint start on the bend and the straight. Ten sprinters, all experienced in bend sprinting (200 m PBs ranged 21.40 – 23.20 s), completed three 10 m maximal effort sprints on the straight and three 10 m maximal effort sprints on the bend in lane 1 (radius 36.5 m). The sprinters all started from the instrumented starting blocks. Results showed that there were no differences in the performance variables including total push time and normalised average horizontal block power. For the front block, external force production in the vertical and resultant forces were significantly different. On the bend, the mediolateral forces in both blocks were directed more towards the centre of the track. The results demonstrated that in the starting blocks, the bend does not impact on performance variables but technique in applying force changes.

The study will be written up with the aim of it being published in the Journal of Sports Sciences. My abstract has also been accepted as a free communication presentation as the BASES Conference 2018 in Harrogate.

Dr Steffen Willwacher will be an external member of my PhD supervisory team. The opportunity to meet with the researchers and engineers at the German Sport University Cologne and discuss how novel sports engineering projects and collaborations might be developed further was a very valuable experience. I was also given the opportunity to speak at a seminar during the visit, a fantastic opportunity for feedback on my work. During the trip, I was shown around the University and their facilities, the starting blocks, the set-up and how to use the equipment.

The collaboration with Steffen allowed access to state-of-the-art equipment for data collection, which will advance our understanding of the reasons for performance decreases on the bend, compared with the straight. I would like to thank Steffen Willwacher and the ISEA for the opportunity to visit German Sport University Cologne, borrow the equipment and develop collaboration with an academic who is well published in another country. This has been valuable experience as I look towards completing my PhD.

Instrumented Starting Blocks

Instrumented Starting Blocks

University: Sheffield Hallam University
Award Value: £500


Measuring behaviour conference 2018

The primary use of the funding was to attend the Measuring Behaviour conference at MMU including travel. The conference was based around the study of human and animal behaviour, a day was also dedicated to sports engineering which gave an insight into how I could carry on my studies in this field. The event was multi-disciplinary with a variety of researchers, I attended many talks over the 3 days learning about software/hardware that is in development stages and asked could it be used in sports engineering once completed. It was a device designed to limit lumbar issues by alerting the user that they are in a ‘dangerous’ position throughout the day. On the sports engineering day I displayed my final year project poster concerning the degradation of running shoes, this got some interest as it was a novel method of testing that people hadn’t expected and changed the way they thought about how the shoes degrade through use. Some of the interest also started debates between couples saying “I told you so” to their partners. The most important thing about attending conferences is networking, many of the talks had very little relevance to my future career and some were extremely complex and hard to follow. During the breaks and events following the talks I began talking to an array of people, one of these people was asking me about my project and said they had a contact in industry who may be interested in my report and findings. Nothing came of it this time, but it might have, the more contacts and chances you have the more likely you are to find a career.

University: Manchester Metropolitan University
Award Value: £245


Application of inertial sensors as a method of monitoring fatigue in boxing

The ISEA Student Engagement Award was used in order to help me subsidise my transport and accommodation costs while participating in a Sports Engineering internship based at Griffith University, Nathan Campus. Having access to the ISEA grant was extremely beneficial for me as it allowed me more financial stability when settling into my role as a sports engineering intern in Australia.

Upon completion of the placement a full report on the analysis on the placement of inertial sensors on the body and their application for monitoring fatigue in boxing was submitted to Griffith University. Our initial hypothesis for the use of the inertial sensor located at thoracic vertebrae 3 (T3) was as follows: 1) The sensor data obtained would be suitable to replace the wrist sensors used in prior studies to measure acceleration, gyration and magnetometer readings 2) Distinguish between a right and left punch being thrown 3) detect fatigue occurring in an athlete and 4) identify when a punch has landed and its attenuation throughout the body. The two participants used were elite level athletes competing at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and tests were performed in training involving a fixed wall bag, a trainer using focus pads and sparring sessions From the study we were able to determine the IMU sensor placed at T3 was indeed suitable for monitoring boxing performance in various scenarios and determining left/right punches was possible along with their corresponding magnitudes. It was deemed the use of the T3 sensor was favourable due to it being place in a less invasive position. However there was less success when monitoring fatigue levels during these trials and the results from the study were inconclusive.

I would like to thank Griffith University and the ISEA for their support throughout my placement the opportunity to study and complete a research project in another country has been a valuable experience for me as I look towards completing my degree.

University: University of Leeds
Award Value: £500


Using inertial measurement units to investigate visual exploration in a novel football passing task

After presenting at the European College of Sport Science congress in Dublin, I travelled to Germany to collaborate with Adam Beavan (Saarland University/UTS PhD candidate) on a research project. I would like to thank the ISEA Student Engagement Award for funding this component of my trip. The funding helped cover the costs of transport and accommodation, allowing this project to go ahead.

The data collection involved the quantification of exploratory head movement using inertial measurement units while football players completed a novel football passing task. With this data, we will investigate how the exploratory action before players receive a pass influences their ability to perform a subsequent pass. Data analysis will involve the synchronisation of the IMU data with video footage, coding of video footage and processing of the IMU data with a custom designed algorithm. The output will give an understanding of various qualities of exploratory action and how these influence subsequent actions with the ball. This is a relatively new area of research, so the findings will go a long way to informating our understanding of visual exploration in football.

The collaboration with Adam allowed access to high level players for data collection, which will give an excellent insight into how highly skilled athletes use visual information to guide passing actions in football. This investigation is the first of many potential collaborations, even after both Adam and I complete our PhD studies, and the ISEA has played a significant role in making this possible.

Adam (left) and Tom (right) enjoying a drink after the ECSS congress

The facilities used for data collection in Germany

University: Australian Catholic University
Award Value: £500