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Machine vision system measures swimmer biomechanics

24 Jul 2013

Boosting training and performance at 2013 FINA World Swimming Championships.

As the 15th FINA World Swimming Championships are taking place in Barcelona (from July 19th to August 4th, 2013), a novel vision system is recording every competitor's movements, to improve training feedback and swimmer performance.

This is the major event for swim sports worldwide with competitions in various disciplines such as swimming, diving, water polo, and synchronized swimming.

Swimming competitions at Barcelona's Palau San Jordi will be monitored by an advanced image-processing system designed to capture biomechanical data of the athletes such as pass times and velocities, turns, stroke frequency and amplitude.

Motion capture specialist company STT Systems, San Sebastian, Spain, has equipped official competition venues with advanced image processing systems, featuring Mako GigE Vision cameras from Allied Vision Technologies (AVT).

STT Systems's data gathering tool called InThePool 2.0 compiles biomechanical data into statistical reports as well as providing valuable information for the teams and their trainers to analyze each swimmer’s performance and comparitive achievements. Data sets may also be used by television broadcasters to enhance the viewer experience.

Mako Camera

InThePool 2.0 is based on images captured by digital cameras from AVT, which are positioned above the pool to monitor the swimmers in each lane. Two rows of five cameras are necessary to capture images of eight lanes over the full length of the 50m pool.

The captured images are processed in real time by the InThePool 2.0 software, which is connected to the official timing system. 

STT selected AVT Mako cameras with GigE Vision interface for this project, supported by imaging specialist company Infaimon. STT commented that Gigabit Ethernet is the best suited interface to bridge the long distances between the cameras on the ceiling of the hall and the host computers.

Pablo Callejo, STT's VP Sales, said, "Just like the athletes competing at this championship, we at STT have been working hard on this project to make sure our system performs perfectly during the event. This is a technical challenge that we have enjoyed mastering.”

Salvador Giró, CEO of Infaimon and AVT's representative in Spain, added, “We have implemented the brand new Mako camera series from Allied Vision Technologies into the InThe Pool 2.0 system. And as a Barcelona-based company, we are proud to be providing the cameras for this major sporting event.”

About the Author

Matthew Peach is a contributing editor to optics.org.

SPECTROGON ABIridian Spectral TechnologiesHyperion OpticsABTechTRIOPTICS GmbHAlluxaCHROMA TECHNOLOGY CORP.
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