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


Kinematics and feature negotiating feedback system in a ski cross start and run: a methodological study

As a Msc student in Sport technology at Aalborg University, for my Master thesis project I investigated a method to develop a performance feedback system for ski cross skiers and coaches. My supervisor was Professor Uwe Kersting and the project was in collaboration with the Swedish Ski Cross Team. I want to say thank you to the ISEA for funding this project. The funds were used to cover the travel and living expenses for one month in Are, Sweden.

Three elite skiers of the Swedish Ski Cross Team participated to this study. The equipment was composed by a wearable IMU-based motion capture system to collect the skiers’ kinematic data, and two GNSS sensors to collect the skier’spositioning data along the full ski cross course. The test course included all the features typical of a ski cross run, such as turns, jumps, rollers, banks and negative turns. The mobile sensor was integrated in the back protector and worn by the subjects, and the base sensor was placed at the start. The positioning data from the two sensors were post-processed together to increase the data accuracy by applying the relative positioning technique. The files containing the kinematic data were then converted into c3d files and fused with the files containing the positioning data into a new c3d file in MATLAB. The new c3d file was successively imported in Visual3D, where the kinematic data of interest, i.e. the pelvis-feet distance along the three anatomical axes, and the pelvis and feet trajectory along the whole run were analysed.

University: Aalborg University
Award Value: £500


An insight into how the use of Inertial Measurement Unit sensors can play a role in shot classification in cricket batting

My research work at Griffith university gave an insight into how inertial sensors can be used in the game of cricket. Trialling these sensors firstly with bowling but completing my final report on batting. As researchers we looked at placing an inertial sensor on the thoracic vertebra to see what data could be recorded. This was the most practical and viable place to put a sensor as it can be used in a real game scenario. After using two elite batsman in manipulated and real game trials we recorded data onto a bought software to interpret it (Matlab). Our findings showed that when batsman’s recorded data in manipulated trials patterns emerged which could be identified and quantified. A sensor seemed to be able to detect when a ball was hit and trends on graphs could indicate what type of shot was played (shot classification). However, data recorded in a real game scenario was more problematic. Due to the numerous degrees of freedom in cricket batting it was problematic to interpret output graphs, especially when compared to the initial trials. In the future we hope that the sensors improve in order to record accurate and higher ranged data.

Overall, a big step was taken in this specific field and the idea holds huge viability in the game of cricket. Hopefully the next step is for my written up paper to be published and cricket teams become aware of the potential these sensors have in the future to record quick information elite players need when batting. Work on the IMU sensors at Griffith is ever increasing and improving to produce a exceptional IMU sensor.


University: Griffith University
Award Value: £500

William Dawber

Characterisation of tennis racket parameters – Wimbledon AELTC.

The grant allowed me to assist Dr. Luca Taraborelli with the research for his paper on the historical development of tennis rackets from codification in the 1870s until present day.

Myself and Dr. Taraborelli visited the All England Lawn Tennis Club where we had the privilege of working in the Wimbledon Tennis Museum, here we had access to around 1000 tennis rackets dating back to the 1870s. During the week-long trip we were able to evaluate around 100 of these rackets on several parameters including geometric, inertial, dynamic and manufacturing properties. My role was to take measurements on racket swing speed and calculate values of transverse and polar moment of inertia for each of the rackets. All of this data is now being documented alongside a further 300 other rackets already tested in order to investigate the effects these changes in design have had on performance. Going forward I plan to continue my work with Dr. Taraborelli to further aid in the production of his paper by helping with research and testing.

I am a BEng Sport Technology undergraduate at Sheffield Hallam University with an ambition to further research in Sports Engineering. This trip provided me with valuable hands-on experience testing sports equipment, furthered my understanding of correct research procedures and boosted my knowledge of design development and the effects it has on performance.
The first outcomes of this project were presented at the ISEA 2018 conference in Brisbane and were appreciated by the audience. Since our trip, Dr. Taraborelli presented his updated results at the ISEA sponsored Sport Engineering Seminar Day at Manchester Metropolitan University on the 2nd May 2018 where I was in attendance. It was great to see the reception he received for his hard work and how the Sport Engineering community is continuously growing and demonstrating its impact on industry.

Thank you to the ISEA for their generous funding. Without this, the trip would not have been possible for me. The funding paid for return travel from Manchester to London, accommodation near to the club, food and drink for the week and transport in London. The experience I have gained has been priceless and I hope to use this as a building block to one day make impact on the Sport Engineering community.

University: Sheffield Hallam University/ Manchester Metropolitan University
Award Value: £400


2nd Sports Engineering Seminar Day – 2nd May 2018 – Manchester Metropolitan University

On Wednesday 2nd May 2018, Manchester Metropolitan University held a Sports Engineering Seminar Day, which was organised and run by PhD students from the university. The ISEA and IET sponsored the event. Our aim was to promote Sports Engineering in an academic environment, raise awareness of the subject and disseminate work in this field within the UK.

The day began with a tour of facilities including the Manchester Fashion Institute, Print City (Additive Manufacturing), engineering workshops and human movement lab. There were four key themed sessions throughout the day including ‘Sports Apparel and Biomechanics’, ‘Health and Injury Prevention’, ‘Simulation in Sports’ and ‘Materials and Equipment Mechanics’. We had industry speakers from Pentland Brands (Speedo & Canterbury), Defence Science and Technology Laboratories and ANSYS, as well as academics and PhD students from UK universities – Manchester Metropolitan, Loughborough, Sheffield Hallam, Chichester and Strathclyde.

Over 110 people from 12 universities, 11 companies and students from a local college joined us for the day, attracting new audiences to Sports Engineering. There were prizes awarded for best student presentation (including Speedo prize), best poster, two student engagement awards and best tweet. Our twitter feed for the day can be found @SportsEngUK or using the #SESday. Feedback forms (and discussions) indicated the event was again very well received, although some people would have liked fewer talks to allow more time for discussion. There was clear interest to continue making this an annual event in the Sports Engineering calendar, and Loughborough University will take on the role of host in 2019. We would like different institutes to host the event on a rotational basis, facilitating travel from different areas of the UK while helping to keep the event fresh, encouraging new industry partners, and university students and staff to attend. Continued interest in the event will help to build up a UK hub of sports engineers, inspiring a new generation to come through and join the ISEA. We would also like to set up a community for all Sports Engineering PhD students to communicate and share ideas, with possible funding going towards further networking.

Finally, we would like to thank the ISEA for sponsoring the event, without the sponsorship it wouldn’t be possible. I believe many people made new contacts and explored new collaborative projects in turn growing the sports engineering community in the UK.
Some quotes from the day:
“#SESday @sportsengUK. It is obvious that the importance of Engineering will always help improve sports in general and help to strengthen unity & love all over world, ethnic groups, professionals & educational backgrounds. Thus, kudos to the organisers of Sports Engineering seminar. Great event. Looking forward to the next one soon.” – Student
“Thanks to everyone for all the hard work making the event a success, I thought it was great. Hopefully if there is another seminar next year I’ll finally be able to stay for the drinks afterwards!” – Industry representative
“Thanks again for inviting me to present at the seminar. I thoroughly enjoyed the event and I’ve benefited from gaining a number of new contacts and research insights.” – Industry representative
“Thank you and well done for ensuring the presentations and day ran smoothly yesterday, not an easy task. We look forward to welcoming you to Loughborough next year.” – Academic Lecturer

University: Manchester Metropolitan University
Award Value: £500


Additive manufacturing of Auxetic Materials for Sport Equipments

Through our senior colleagues we came in contact with Dr. Tom Allen and the Manchester Metropolitan University. Due to our immense interest in Material Science and Additive manfacturing we were delighted to get the opportunity to work with the advanced equipment in MMU to synthesize Auxetic structures for Sport safety equipment. The duration of our project was between 18th January and 18th March 2018.

The main objective of our project was to successfully manufacture re-entrant auxetic structures using a Lulzbot 3D printer, which is capable of exhibiting negative poisson ratio and high Impact resistance.

The result we were able to learn was the methodology to successfully control the structure of the auxetic using various settings and document it. This can be further used to build complex auxetic structures useful for the sports Industry.

We had the opportunity to meet people from various departments and cultures and were able to share ideas for the betterment of our project. Since we were given the full wheel on the project we were able to fully understand the nuances of our work which helped us to improve our project management skills tremendously.

We being International students, the funding helped us in and out of the project and made sure that we were able to complete our project successfully. The funding covered our material costs, travel costs, etc.

Finally we were able to explore a new range of possibilites in Material science through this project. We learnt about the future of materials in sports industries and also on how materials play a pivotal role in safety and protection.

After this we will be pursuing our Masters and hopefully land a job in the sporting industry. We wish to thank ISEA for being making this tremendous opportunity a succesful journey.

University: Manchester Metropolitan University
Award Value: £1000


Use of inertial sensors and their placement on the body to detect boxing performance

The funds provided to me by the ISEA helped me with travel and accommodation costs whilst living in Australia. This enabled me to fully focus my time on the role as a Sports Engineering research intern at Griffith University. I focused my research on looking into the use of inertial sensors to detect boxing performance. By the end of the internship we had completed an extensive research project that has the potential to be published into the Journal of Sports Engineering.
The paper reported a quantitative assessment of sensor placement to detect magnitudes in boxing using IMU data. Our hypothesis stated the 3rd thoracic vertebrae sensor would be able to:
1. Be used instead of wrist sensors to detect acceleration, gyration and magnetometer outputs of punches.
2. Distinguish between a left and a right punch using sensor data.
3. Detect fatigue in an athlete.
4. Identify when a punch lands and its attenuation throughout the body.

The funds provided to me by the ISEA helped me with travel and accommodation costs whilst living in Australia. This enabled me to fully focus my time on the role as a Sports Engineering research intern at Griffith University. I focused my research on looking into the use of inertial sensors to detect boxing performance. By the end of the internship we had completed an extensive research project that has the potential to be published into the Journal of Sports Engineering.
The paper reported a quantitative assessment of sensor placement to detect magnitudes in boxing using IMU data. Our hypothesis stated the 3rd thoracic vertebrae sensor would be able to:
1. Be used instead of wrist sensors to detect acceleration, gyration and magnetometer outputs of punches.
2. Distinguish between a left and a right punch using sensor data.
3. Detect fatigue in an athlete.
4. Identify when a punch lands and its attenuation throughout the body.

It was determined that an IMU sensor placed at T3 is suitable to monitor boxing performance in some scenarios. It is possible to determine both left and right punches along with their magnitudes when observing punch profiles and taking into consideration their time delay. Overall the use of a sensor located at the T3 is more favourable than located at the wrist due to being less invasive, smaller acceleration peaks and reduced chance of being damaged during testing. When testing fatigue the results were inconclusive with the peak acceleration increasing over the seven sets where it was hypothesised to decrease. Both the pad work and sparring trials were again able to identify left and right hand punches with a varying degree of accuracy however there was evidence that the sensors do have the capacity to be used in a dynamic environment.
Further research is needed in order to determine whether the T3 is as optimal as the wrist for detecting fatigue and whether the increased acceleration is being caused by an over acceleration at the shoulders. A more in depth analysis of each type of punch would allow a clearer understanding of if (and how) individual punch characteristics differ from one another in their punch profiles. Finally, research into the development of a machine learning model would provide a better understanding in how possible it is to use an automatic points scoring system in a competitive scenario.

As an undergraduate student I will be returning to Leeds to finish my BSc degree in Sport and Exercise Science (Industrial). However colleagues at Griffith University will continue the work with these sesnors to further analyse boxing performance.

Below there are two figures attached:
Figure 1 – Screenshot of part of experimental set up (initial trial)
Figure 2 – Acceleration profiles for both participants during the 10 punch bag trials. Red line represents left hand average (positive) and blue represents right hand average (negative).
Figure 3 – Average hand speed for each set of the fatigue trial for left and right hand. Participant 1 (a) percentage change between Round 1 and 7: Left hand = -12.3%, Right Hand = -10.9%.,

University: Griffith University
Award Value: £500

Kristina Brubacher

The 8th Asia-Pacific Congress on Sports Technology 2017

The ISEA Student Engagement Award was used to cover my transportation cost to attend The 8th Asia-Pacific Congress on Sports Technology (APCST) 2017. The conference was held on 15th to 19th October 2017 in Tel Aviv, Israel. The APCST is a major international event in the field of sports technology, organised biennially.

I had the opportunity to present my conference paper titled ‘Design of sports compression garments: exploring the relationship between pressure distribution and body dimensions’. The paper forms part of my PhD research on the design of sports compression garments for female athletes. I presented the results of an online survey that I conducted with sports compression garment users as well as key findings from my wearer trial study with commercial compression sportswear. My research is very interdisciplinary in nature and with a background in clothing and textile technology, it was imperative for me to strengthen my international connections in the sporting field. I really enjoyed that the conference featured presentations from both academia and industry. I learnt a lot from the academic presentations from a wide range of fields related to sports technology, such as sensors, wearable technologies, materials and sports equipment. These presentations were complemented by great keynote presentations from industry experts. Yonatan Gorfung (Deloitte’s Innovation Tech Terminal) gave a very interesting presentation about future trends in sports technology, whilst Dr Matthew Nurse (VP / Nike Explore Team Sport Research Lab) and Dr Randy Wilber (US Olympic Committee) gave insights into the development and application of new technologies. The common thread amongst these presentations was not to forget the end users in new developments – a principle that has always guided my research.

Thanks to the support from the ISEA Student Engagement Award I fulfilled my aims of disseminating my research at an international level and broadening my network within the sporting sector. My focus is now on working towards the submission of my PhD thesis in early 2018. I look forward to meeting colleagues from the APCST again at future conferences to further strengthen relationships and potentially grow future collaborations.

University: Manchester Metropolitan University
Award Value: £500

Oliver Duncan

Effect of time and temperature on auxetic foam fabrications (oral) and Comparisson of Digital Image Correltaion and marker tracking methods for strain measurement in open cell foam

ISEA’s contribution allowed me to attend the 9th International Conference “Auxetics and other materials and models with “negative” characteristics” and 14th Workshop “Auxetics and related systems”, September, 2017, Crete.

Two objectives from my PhD (auxetic foams for sporting protective equipment) were presented. These included an assesment of a strain measurement method and an auxetic foam fabrication study. My overall aim is to set up a test to quantify the effect of foam’s negative Poisson’s ratio on indentation resistance. Auxetic foam is closer in modulus and density to materials used in sports protection than other auxetic materials. Open cell foam used in comparisons is ~3 times less dense and has a very different compressive stress strain relationship (buckling beyond ~10% compressive strain, when the auxetic sample is relatively linear to 80% compression). These extra variables have prevented clear relationships from being demonstrated between Poisson’s ratio, indentation resistance and peak force under impact.

The first (poster) presentation compared digital image correlation (DIC) and marker tracking for strain measurement in open cell foams. DIC has not been widely used for foams. Presented work shows it to be comparable to marker tracking and it has already managed to identify the effect of flaws in foam cell structure. Further work will measure material flow under an indenter. Most attendees had not used DIC in this way, but those fabricating auxetic foams and fabrics were keen to try, with possible applications in smart garments for apparel.

The second (oral) presentation suggested methods to reduce variables (density and modulus) in comparisons between auxetic and non-auxetic foams. Previous comparative auxetic/non auxetic foam impact and indentation studies don’t control changes to density and compressive modulus. A clear link between indentation resistance and Poisson’s ratio cannot be made in scenarios close to those seen in sporting collisions, or required for certification by sporting standards. Discussion around the specifics of the test set up and a request to test for shear modulus will help clarify the reason for any differences in the indentation resistance of positive/negative Poisson’s ratio samples.

Outputs include collaborative work with researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a chance to discuss a collaborative study with the University of Malta (submitted as a full paper for ‘The Engineering of Sport’ in Brisbane). I was also lucky enough to meet a PhD student from the Liverpool John Moores University, modelling indentation of auxetic materials for heel protection in basketball shoes. The conference was an excellent event and I received useful advice. I hope that members of the ISEA can attend next year’s Auxetics conference (here at Sheffield Hallam).

University: Sheffield Hallam University
Award Value: £500

Megan Kenny

Research Project – Using IMUs to predict ground reaction force when sprinting

I used the award to help fund a trip to Griffith University, Australia to complete a research project. The project involved using inertial measurement units (IMUs) to collect acceleration data to then predict the ground reaction forces involved in a sprint start.

As part of the project myself and another intern travelled to Australia via Japan. In Japan we had the opportunity to conduct some trials using the facilities there to collect data for the project. We both visited the National Institute of fitness and Sport (NIFS), Kanoya and we able to make use of the instrumented running track and athletes there. Three sprinters completed 10m and 50m sprints over an instrumented running track that collected three dimensional force. The sprinters were also were also wearing IMUs developed by Griffith University on each shank and the T3 vertbrae, which would collect accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer data. Me and the other intern were also kindly given a tour of the facilities and the local area by Professor Tomohtito Wada from NIFS.

The project was then continued in Australia where all the data analysis took place. I was working as a part of a group of people wit the aim to to develop a method or algorithm to be able to predict the ground reaction force from the acceleration data from the IMUs. We then had to think about ways of using the acceleration data to get the force. A couple of different methods were tried by various members of the group. The method I worked on was to use a linear combination of the accelerations to create a model that would give an estimation of the force. The result showed potential, for one of the participants a model was created that could reasonably accurately predict the ground reaction force generated.

Completing the project was a really great experience, I really enjoyed working on the project and am happy to have contributed to research in this area, as the project resulted in a paper that is going to be presented at the ISEA 2018 conference.

University: Imperial College London
Award Value: £500

Todd Shepherd

Presenting ‘Finite Element Modelling of Auxetic Materials for Sports Applications’

Thanks to the generous funding from the ISEA, I was able to travel to Tel Aviv, Israel, and attend my first international conference – the 8th Asia Pacific Congress for Sports Technology. The money I received went towards my registration and attendance fees, as well as contributing to my stay at a conveniently located Airbnb, close to the conference venue.

I presented my work to date on ‘Finite Element Modelling of Auxetic Materials for Sports Applications’, showcasing my latest finite models as well as physical prototypes of structures created using additive manufacturing techniques. The conference allowed me to disseminate my work to other experts in the field of sports engineering and also provided the opportunity of networking and potentially collaborating with some of the attendees. I was also able to attend talks on other interesting and related topics within sports engineering.

The whole experience was enjoyable and has given me the thirst to experience more international conferences in the future. The conference should provide me with a solid foundation that I can build on with my next two years of PhD studies.

As part of the conference, I was lucky enough to be taken on two organised tours to see some historical sites of Israel. The first tour was around the old town of Jaffa, also known as the gate to Jerusalem; a beautiful ancient port steeped in history and tradition. To finish my trip in Israel, a visit to the town of Caesarea was arranged. Here I saw an archaeological park that was aiming to restore some of the former ancient ruins, as well as a hippodrome that doubled up as a concert venue and a former seafront palace.

Without this generous funding, my trip would not have been possible – so again thanks to the ISEA for supporting me.

University: Manchester Metropolitan University
Award Value: £500