Data-logging shirt for analyzing baseball biomechanics

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Data-logging shirt for analyzing baseball biomechanics

A senior design project by Marcus Moche, Alexandra Morgan and David Schmidt at Northeastern University:


Elbow injuries suffered by pitchers in Major League Baseball occur frequently and result in tens of millions of dollars in losses each season, representing the money that must be paid in salaries to pitchers who cannot perform due to injury.

“No single device for measuring the quality of pitching mechanics currently exists, so we have proposed a shirt that is lightweight and can be worn during bullpen sessions or exhibition games,” said Moche. “The shirt can be used to show when a player becomes fatigued and his mechanics worsen, through a display of real-time information on a monitor in the dugout.”

[via ecouterre]

8 thoughts on “Data-logging shirt for analyzing baseball biomechanics

  1. Colecoman1982 says:

    From performance standpoint, things like this can (and probably already are in some places) be used for a form of feedback for “techno-zen” mastery of athletic technique.

    In many sports, especially in martial arts, people already rely on brute repetition to instill muscle memory for the basic motions and to, slowly over time, approach the precise motion that provides optimal energy transfer and/or control. Some situations where this is especially important are (as already mentioned) baseball pitchers’ throws; baseball batter swings; golf swings; martial arts punches/kicks; etc. Normally, you’d have to rely on things like how far the ball goes or the observation of highly trained instructors to confirm if you are improving which doesn’t show much detail on what you need to do to get better. This technology should let you run computer simulations on what is the ideal motion and then fine tune minute portions of each motion to improve your performance much faster than pure trial-and-error.

  2. Sean Michael Ragan says:

    I’m a martial artist myself. The guy I train with is almost 70 and has been training for 55 years, and is amazingly well preserved. Still, the school has some concern about preserving his legacy after he eventually has to retire, and if there were some way to do motion-capture on him as he performed various techniques and forms, and then, even better, for me to put on a garment that would respond haptically based on how well I was emulating his technique, well…seems like it would shorten the learning process dramatically, as you suggest. Do you know of anybody that’s researching this?

    1. Dr B says:

      Actually at 3D Motion Sports the zenoLINK system uses anatomical reference points and video data to analyze athletic motion, not sensors. We can analyze multiple movement patterns at the same time and provide kinetic chain, muscular loading and core stability data as well as joint range of motion information.

  3. Colecoman1982 says:

    Not specifically. I’m pretty sure that this kind of thing is done, sometimes, in sports medicine when you start dealing with high-end athletes such as olympians and pros but I don’t know how common it is or if it’s flexible/rugged enough to be used on a regular basis. A rugged, low cost, system that is affordable for the average person to get and can be worn all the time would be awesome, especially in the world of martial arts.

    I’ve taken classes in the past (a number of years of Kung-fu) and it seems to me that the situation you’re talking about is, probably, all too common. There are a million-and-one different styles of martial arts out there and, often, only one or a few masters of each style who can pass it on. Once they pass away, much of the knowledge gets lost. In that way, it’s much like obscure languages.

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I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c't – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

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