Eriksrud O. (2014) Measuring sports performance using robotic technology. IcSPORTS 2014

Measuring sports performance using new robotic technology
Eriksrud1, O., 1Department of Physical Performance, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, Oslo, Norway

Objective measures of the physical factors (force, speed, power, work and energy) in different movement patterns is important in both testing and training as well as for rehabilitation and athletic development. Different technologies, such as force plates, accelerometers and inertial measurement units, can quantify and document these physical factors. Robotic systems, such as isokinetic dynamometers (e.g. Cybex ® II, Biodex ® System 4) have the ability to assess movement under loaded conditions. However, these systems are limited in their application since only specific movement patterns, often isolated to one joint, can be performed. Consequently, there is a need for a more flexible measurement system that can obtain accurate documentation of these physical factors in a wide variety of movement patterns.

1080 Quantum with it’s robotic technology and functional design is created to meet this need. The adjustable arm with the 5-meter line allows for any functional movement pattern to be performed. Resistance and speed of the concentric and eccentric phases of movement can be set independently of each other. This allows for an eccentric overload, by either increase speed, load or both, in the eccentric over the concentric phase of the movement. Furthermore the speed setting serves as a speed limit for the movement. A lower speed will therefore translate any movement into isokinetic testing or training. In addition 1080 Quantum has four basic settings (1) normal where the load mimics a regular mass (2) no flying weight where the inertia of the mass is rapidly reduced as the force output of the athlete is decreasing (for power sports). Additionally, (3) vibration (25Hz with a selection of different amplitudes) and (4) isotonic resistance mode can be accessed. Furthermore there are two gears available to generate resistance (gear 1: 0-25kg and gear 2: 0-50kg).

Furthermore the same technology has been applied to a smaller unit, 1080 Sprint, which has a 110-meter line. This unit offers some great possibilities as it comes to resistance and over-speed training of any sport with repeated movement patterns such as running, swimming, paddling. 1080 Sprint has been tested on the Swedish national swimming team as well as on American football players and selected track and field athletes.

The system has been adapted and applied by different professional sports teams and training facilities in Europe. One area were this system can be very important is in assessing horizontal and rotatory movements. There has been a long-standing discussion regarding the relationship between power in a squat exercise as compared to power in the forward, backward and side-to-side, movements important in many sports with changes of direction. Preliminary data from an English Premiere League Team (n=26) show that there is no relationship between these horizontal and vertical power measures. These findings are important for testing and training horizontal power, and to establish its relationship to agility. Furthermore, in junior elite golfers rotational power in the 1080 Quantum was found to significantly correlate with ball speed.

Reliability studies of the horizontal and vertical power protocols of the lower extremities, as well as diagonal push and pull movements are presently being conducted at the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences and the Norwegian Olympic Training Center.