Olly Duncan

Summary of the 5th UK Sports Engineering Seminar Day

After a two year wait, we were really pleased to welcome the community to Manchester Metropolitan University for the 5th UK Sports Engineering Seminar Day. More than 100 delegates came from around the UK and abroad (special mention to guests travelling from Canada), spanning backgrounds from mechanical engineering to art and design. Delegates included academics, students and industry/governing body representatives. The event was organised by members of the Sports Engineering Group at MMU, and affiliate members Adil Imam (Canterbury Christ Church University), Kristina Brubacher (University of Manchester) and Daniel Haid (Sheffield Hallam University). Funding was provided by the ISEA via the engaging sports engineers grant, and Manchester Metropolitan University via the business engagement team, while the IMechE also supported and promoted the day.

We began with tours of our various connected laboratories, Fashion and Textiles, Sports Mechanics, Institute of Sports, and Facial Reconstruction. Then PhD students kicked off the talks, with spotlight presentations to introduce them to the community. Max Valentine (University of Bath) won the prize for best student presentation, and Katie Mills (Sheffield Hallam University) the runner up prize – prizes were sponsored by PING and the ISEA.

We welcomed speakers from the UK, and international/EU speakers (roughly 50/50 between industry/governing body and academia). Topics ranged from mechanical metamaterials to wind tunnel testing. Special mentions to Siamak Khosroshahi from Queen Mary University of London, for the entertaining evidence of developments in impact testing ethics; linked to the prize for best tweet (Adam S Kennerley, Sheffield Hallam/Latrobe), and Stefan Mohr from HEAD – a favourite during verbal feedback. After the success of the last day at Sheffield Hallam University, we kept sessions to below two hours, leaving plenty of time for breaks and networking, which we felt worked well in 2020.

Left: Siamak Khosroshahi from Queen Mary University. Right: Stefan Mohr from HEAD.

It is clear that the UK has a strong up and coming generation of Sports Engineers. Now, the UK community will benefit from the conference in Loughborough in 2024, and a new venue for the 2023 Seminar Day (Canterbury Christ Church University). Discussion topics arising from the day related to collaboration on key cross-sport and disciplinary challenges around equipment for injury prevention, understanding current and sustainable rubber-free artificial turf, and improving collaborations between Academica and governing bodies. There are plenty of opportunities for our budding and established generations of sports engineers to further knowledge and impact in the discipline – we welcome any initiatives to build an even stronger community.

Feedback from the day was positive – talks, content and scheduling received very good or good ratings. We look forward to helping Adil Imam lead the next event, keeping many of the now tried and tested formats, while ensuring there are spare microphones for questions! Once again, thank you to all who came, helped and contributed – it really was great to see old faces again, and meet new community members.

Caroline Adams

International Standards Working Group Meeting ISO/TC 94/SC 13/WG 11 – Body & hand protection for snowboarding : April 28-29 2016, Switzerland

Funds were used to cover the costs of transport and a portion of accomadtion. The remainder of the costs were covered by the British Standards Institute.

Injuries to the upper extremities are the most frequently reported injured body region in snowboarding and contribute to 35-45% of all snowboarding injuries. Wrist protectors have been shown to reduce injury risk, yet there is no minimum performance standard these products should conform to. This can leave consumers confused and mislead about their safety. The International Standards Organisation has established a working group with the aim of developing a new standard – ISO/TC 94/SC 13/WG 11- Body & hand protection for snowboarding. As my PhD project is focused on the testing and design of wrist protectors I have become the nominated UK expert on this committee. This means I participate in technical working group meetings 2-3 times per year and provide the committee with advice based on the body of work completed during my PhD.

This particular meeting was held at the BFU headquarters (Swiss Council for Accident Prevention) in Bern Switzerland. The meeting started with discussions around the time frame of the project and key dates in the ISO & CEN process were outlined by Ruth Schnieder – Secretariat SNV Swiss Association for Standardization. The draft standard should be completed by September. This will then be circulated to all relevant national bodies for review (typically over a period of 6 months). If the review is successful the process for implementing an ISO standard will commence if not then it will be transformed into a European Standard. The next meeting to finalise the draft will be held in August 2016 at Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) hosted by Tom Allen & Caroline Adams. As the EU PPE directive will be held in Leeds March 20-24th 2017 and both Peter Gyger and Ruth Schnieder will be there anyway it was agreed informally that there will likely be a follow up meeting during that week.

I presented an overview of the work I’ve completed within my PhD titled “Development of a new method to characterise snowboard wrist protectors”. This includes a critique of EN 14120 inline skating protectors, which has been identified as the starting point for the new standard. Key weaknesses include: (1) inappropriate test setup which can’t be conducted based on the schematic; (2) poorly designed prosthesis/surrogate shape; (3) threshold values not based on published injury mechanism data; (4) ambiguous test protocol with no consideration given for strapping tightness. During a study (to be presented at ISEA conference July 2016) we have demonstrated that strapping tightness affects whether products pass or fail. Given that products will be tested by different operators globally it’s important this is addressed to ensure repeatability.

Given that gloves with integrated protection are on the market there is the need for a new surrogate with fingers and a method which the load can be applied at a set distance. At Sheffield Hallam we are currently developing a new surrogate design based on geometry obtained using 3d body scanning technology. As standard needs to include 2D schematic and associated dimensions for a range of sizes this couldn’t be used directly, but could help in advancing the shape of the surrogate. In addition to this we are developing a clamping mechanism which can be mounted externally onto the surrogate wearing the glove at a fixed distance so a bending moment can be applied without cutting the glove. Future work will include the development of a dynamic impact test and FEA work performed by Chloe Mann (MMU PhD student). Which we hope can support a later revision of this standard further down the line.

The remainder of the two days were spent going through the latest version of the standard and addressing comments and concerns from members of the committee on the themes of:

• Impact performance requirements and testing
• Stiffness performance requirements and testing
• Splint dimensions
• Conditioning samples

Next Steps: Prior to the next meeting in Manchester Bfu & SNV will update the standard to reflect corrections and discussion during the meeting. This will then be circulated to the rest of the ISO committee. Bfu will coordinate the design of new surrogate including dimensions and cad drawings (potentially delegating this to Sheffield Hallam but yet to be confirmed). I will test a wider range of products providing plots for angle vs torque for the current state of the market. Based on this at the next meeting we can collectively make an informed decision on performance parameters for the bending tests.

Caroline Adams

19/05/17 International Society for Skiing Safety Congress (ISSS)

Funds were used to cover the costs of transportation, conferences fees and a portion of accommodation costs.

The ISSS is a multidisciplinary conference bringing together international experts in the fields of: medicine; engineering; sports science; and ski tourism, to enhance the safety of winter sports through scientific research. In April experts from all around the globe gathered at the sport science faculty at the University of Innsbruck. The main themes of the conference were epidemiology of winter sports injuries; ski racing; avalanches; health aspects of skiing; head injuries, knee injuries; equipment; biomechanics and ski bindings. Whilst the conference is multidisciplinary at least a third if not more of the presentations constituted sports engineering.

I presented a study I have completed during my PhD on the design of surrogates to mechanically test snowboarding wrist protectors. It was interesting to see the complementary approaches being taken by different research institutions and have the opportunity to receive feedback on my work. Positive discussions were had with other researchers both concerning mechanical testing and the potential to influence behavioural practice and track the impact of a prevention once an ISO standard has been established. Chloe Newton Mann who is supporting the wrist protection work through FEA simiulation also had the opportunity to present her early work and proposed approach.

The use of equipment as a means of injury prevention was discussed throughout the conference. A change in ski binding design has resulted in a drop in tibia fractures but the number of ACL injuries has increased. This highlighted the importance of taking into consideration the full chain of the human body when implementing changes. Another intervention discussed at length was despite the increase in helmet use across resorts up to 97% in some countries the rate of head injuries doesn’t reflect this change in behaviour. Given the prevalence of these injuries it appears that sports engineers in collaboration with resorts, clinicians and manufacturers have a responsibility to better understand the mechanism of injury and aid the design, development and testing of improved products. This could in time lead to changes in policy and a revision to the helmet standard. A number of innovative approaches are being taken to better understand these injury scenarios and develop representative tests.

Mohamed Mufid Basha & Rohit Nagarajan

Pressure Mapping of Auxetic Foam and its Characterization

As a part of our final year project in Mechanical Engineering, I Mufid Basha and my acquaintance Rohit Nagarajan from India were really interested in doing a project on sports technology. Fortunately we got in touch with Dr. Thomas Allen from Manchester Metropolitan University through the ISEA winter school. Our project in the United Kingdom was for a time period of 6 weeks starting from the last week of January 2017 to the first week of March 2017.

The project was based on Auxetic Foam, and was supported and funded by the International Sports Engineering Association (ISEA).

Our objective in this study project was to perform pressure mapping on Auxetic foams and compare it with conventional polyurethane foams used in sports safety equipment’s. It also involved optimization by using the foam with different composites procured from the Textiles department. Since pressure mapping on Auxetic foam was an undiscovered topic, we had to initially learn a lot about how the pressure mapping equipment actually would function.

The results which were achieved through this study proved that auxetic foams have better pressure distribution properties which could eventually be used in sports protective equipments if futher study is carried on.

Our experience in the UK was very intense and helped us develop different skills. Since this project involved close co-ordination with other departments like the Textile, it also helped us gain some insight into other departmental works.

The ISEA funding was something which helped us in a big way. Being students, affording an international trip succumbed us initially. However after the formal confirmation of our funding, we were very delighted and obliged. The funding from ISEA was used for different aspects like travel, accommodation, project expenses which involved purchase of consumables, sheets etc.

Most importantly this project helped us understand what Sports Engineering is actually like and develop in us an interest to pursue this course in future. It helped us to demonstrate our analytical skills, planning and organizing the project frame work and bolstering in us the desire to learn more about sports technology. Since this project was completely left at our discretion, we were autonomous in making and executing decisions which improved our project management skills as well.

Our next plan is to take forward this project and possibly join Msc in Sports Engineering at SHU to continue futher reseach in this and diversify our study. Positvely we hope to implement this research project In something that would prove benefical for the sports community.

Certainly this was a great and different experience we were exposed and it created interest in sports engineering to a large extent.

Chloe Newton-Mann

Sports Engineering Seminar Day

On Wednesday 29th March 2017, Manchester Metropolitan University held a sports engineering seminar day. The ISEA, MMU School of Engineering and the IET sponsored the event. Our aim of the day was to promote sports engineering in an academic environment, raise awareness of the subject and disseminate the work being conducted in this field of research.

The day started with a tour of the university facilities including the Manchester Fashion Institute, Engineering Workshop and the Movement Lab. Following a networking lunch, which included posters and equipment being displayed, a series of themed sessions of presentations were held. The four key themes were ‘equipment mechanics’, ‘healthcare and injury prevention’, ‘biomechanics’ and ‘sports apparel’. We had speakers from industry including Evotech CAE Ltd, Ansys, Cantebury and our keynote speaker Paul Barratt from the Great Britain Cycling Team/English Institute of Sport. We also had talks from leading academics such as Carl Payton, Matt Carré and Steph Forrester as well as PhD students from Manchester Metropolitan University, Loughborough, Sheffield Hallam and Griffith University. Each presenter gave a short overview of the path taken to becoming involved in the sports engineering sector followed by information on current research/projects being conducted.

Eighty-four people joined us for the day, plus some late arrivals, making approximately one hundred attendees from MMU (20), Sheffield Hallam (15), Strathclyde (12), Loughborough (10), as well as Salford, Anglia Ruskin, Leeds and even a student from a college still picking her university degree. There were prizes awarded for best student presentation (sponsored by ANSYS), best poster (sponsored by Mitre), three student engagement awards and a best tweet (sponsored by the IET). We had banners and flyers promoting the ISEA. Jonathan Shepherd also gave a short presentation promoting the next ISEA conference.

After the event, we asked for feedback, all of which was very positive. We asked whether they enjoyed their day as well as whether they would attend an event like this again along with specific things they enjoyed/would improve. The diversity of speakers was received positively and the timing and organisation was praised.

Some key quotes include:

“It was interesting to see what kind of projects people already in the Sports Engineering field are working on. It has broadened my knowledge of possible routes to take from uni.”

“Was really interesting to find out about the different disciplines within Sports Eng. Studying MEng Sports Engineering as undergrad we focus more on product design engineering and development and biomechanics is taught from another faculty. It was good to hear how it all fitted together in industry.”

“Opportunity to mix with so many interested sports engineers and listen to so many experts presenting their research.”

We hope this event could be the start of an annual UK based sports engineering day where everybody can get together, share research and inspire the next generation. Through collaborating on research and projects, we can potentially build a UK Sports Engineering hub of excellence. If the event was held at different institutes each time, on a rotational basis, we think this would ensure a range of facilities available in the UK are showcased, encourage different people to attend and have a mix of industry partners presenting.

Lastly we would like to thank the ISEA for sponsoring the event, the funding allowed us to advertise efficiently as well as provide catering on the day which was very well received.

Jonathan Shepherd

As I am now embarking on my final year of my PhD program disseminating my sports engineering research internationally is imperative to both strengthen my final dissertation and foster relationships. Furthermore, as the ISEA student member on the executive committee it is important for me to liaise with other students to ensure the ISEA is meeting their specific needs. The ISEA funds partially contributed to my airfares and expenses (e.g. conference registration fees and accommodation) to assist me visiting Europe to present at three conferences (Manchester, London and Delft).

On this trip I spoke at three conferences and spent two days at the Centre for Sports Engineering Research (CSER) at Sheffield Hallam University.

  • Shepherd, J. Theil, D. Espinosa, H.(2017) Using Inertial Magnetic Sensors to approximate fatigue performance metrics in boxing. Science and Engineering Conference on Sports Innovation. Delft, Netherlands.
  • Shepherd, J. (2017) Engineering Sport through Virtual Reality: Can we enhance performance and heighten fan engagement. UK Sports Engineering Summit. Manchester, United Kingdom.
  • Shepherd, J. James, D (2017) Data, data, data…but what about feedback? Sports Analytics Summit, Innovation Enterprise. London, United Kingdom.

I achieved both my intended goals, in firstly engaging with other academics and industry end-users which will help shape my thesis and with diversifying my professional networks. This resulted in many new connections, with potential research collaborations emanating from this when I complete my PhD at the end of this year. Furthermore, as a direct result of this trip, one student now undertaking a internship with us at Griffith University from the Netherlands.

At each of these conferences I actively promoted the next ISEA conference (which I am on the organising committee for) and chatted to students in particular about the ISEA, what they want out of their membership, and how they can be involved.

Bodil Oudshoorn

Visiting Griffith University, Brisbane and Gold Coast, Australia

Purpose of the visit
To visit Professor David Thiel (Griffith University, Engineering department) and Jonathan Shepherd (SABEL labs & Griffith University) to learn more about the use of inertial sensors for measuring gait and posture, and attend the 13th biennial Footwear Biomechanics Symposium held by the Gold Coast campus of Griffith University.

Summary of visit
At the start of my trip I visited the engineering department of Griffith University (Nathan Campus). David Thiel and Jonathan Shepherd had organised a seminar for my visit. In this seminar I presented a new strand of research that CSER (Centre for Sports Engineering Research) is currently undertaking, on the development of test methods to assess the safety of sports equipment. Afterwards Jonathan had organised a lab-tour of the campus and showed how their in-house developed IMU (inertial measurement units) worked and what they were currently used for.

The second part of my visit was located an hour South of Brisbane, in the Gold Coast. The three-day conference on Footwear Biomechanics research was very applicable to my own PhD research project, where I am using biomechanical data to inform a new test method to assess the laceration injury risk of studded footwear. Prior to the conference we had submitted a research paper and research proposal to be considered for the Nike Award for Footwear Research. Our project had previously been selected as a runner-up for this award. After an extended presentation session our project was chosen as the winner of the 2017 Nike Award.

Altogether, it was a fantastic trip where I have met some great people who I hope to work together with in the future. It further has helped me understand the possibilities and current use of IMU’s and I believe this trip has raised attention to the research that is needed to develop test methods for assessing the safety of sports equipment.

Ehsin Farooq

ISEA Placement Funding

With the financial support from the ISEA I was able to successfully complete my voluntary work placement at the ITF. This funding provided the financial assistance required to allow me to make the most out of a valued opportunity. The high financial pressures entailed with travel and accommodation within London were greatly eased and therefore allowed me to work to best of my ability in all work carried out. In addition, it provided me with the confidence and means to prepare as effectively as possible beforehand knowing that finances were in place prior to my placement, this relived much pressure and again allowed me to focus on being ready for the work carried out while at the ITF.

From this experience I was therefore able to gain an invaluable insight into the technical theory and testing procedures involved in tennis, from surfaces and balls to software. I was able to learn how to use the advanced machinery responsible for evaluating all these technical aspects of the sport, whilst gaining a better understanding in the process. Alongside many industry professionals I was also able to observe and take part in many different tasks gaining expert advice and training, which i look to consolidate on in the future. This would not have been achievable without the financial support from the ISEA.

In the immediate future I believe that this funding and completion of my placement will enable me now to implement this newfound experience and skills into my third year of university whilst also challenging me to approach tasks with a new perspective. Fundamentally I will now look to apply and draw upon this knowledge and experience in all future university projects. I believe this again will prove invaluable towards the duration of my course.

On reflection I was able to gain an amazing insight into my area of study beyond a university environment and crucially understand how the theory i have learned is translated into a practical working environment. The result is that I could take my first big step within the sports engineering industry, gaining invaluable first-hand knowledge in the processes. It has also hopefully set me on the right path to becoming an accomplished sports engineer and provide the early foundations towards the future, where i hope to make positive impact and contribute towards the wider field.

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.

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.