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Performance Innovation Research Partnership

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Performance Innovation Research Partnership

SERG have been developing technological innovations to support the performance of Team GB athletes at Olympic competitions since 2004

Screenshot of the bespoke software being used to analyse performance in martial arts

The majority of our work with elite sports teams is formed of large, long running research projects. The aims and objectives of these projects inherently change to align themselves with the strategic goals of the sports, and also to take full advantage of advancements in technology.

The challenge

Elite level athletes and coaches want to benefit from any valid technological intervention that may give them the competitive advantage in competition. With this comes a number of challenges:

  1. Off-the-shelf (and existing) systems often generate large volumes of data that often cannot easily be stored centrally.
  2. Novel research techniques developed and successfully used in the laboratory generally cannot be directly deployed in the elite training environment.
  3. We use our knowledge to develop bespoke systems for the monitoring of the performance of elite athletes in real environments.

The method

The three challenges are addressed by different but linked workstreams.

In response to the first challenge, we develop novel data management solutions that efficiently consume data from multiple sources and platforms. For example, we develop parsing tools that can extract tournament results data from web pages and other formats, and store centrally. Furthermore, we have built tools that consume data from third party platforms via use of an Application Programme Interface (API).

In response to the second challenge, we use our expertise in design engineering and applied computing to either (1) adapt standard analysis techniques or (2) create novel solutions that allow performance analysis to be conducted in-situ. For example, we have developed a bespoke camera calibration technique and image processing library that allows swimmers to be analysed in a pool. We have synchronised this camera system to a third party instrumented start block to provide single, user friendly kinetics analysis package.

Bespoke software onsite used to analysis gymnasts performance and movements to help make improvements

In response to the third challenge, we have developed bespoke software systems that store multiple datasets such as tournament results, videos, attendance, wellness, injuries and training logs in a central datastore. We develop these systems on the most appropriate platform(s) for the client. We use co-design principles which involve us working with the end users to develop the most appropriate and effective methods of data capture, storage and dissemination. This ensures the maximisation of the usage of the systems – the end user having designed their own solution.

The impact

We use our knowledge to develop bespoke systems for the monitoring of the performance of elite athletes in real environments. In the last 10 years, we have conducted over 130 individual projects as part of the Innovation Partnership. This work has contributed to 24 medals at London 2012 and 42 medals at Rio 2016.

Graphic of a gold medal from the Rio Olympics outlining the medals that the Centre for Sport Engineering Research helped win at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Main text reads 'CSER research supporting Team GB at the Rio 2016 Olympics Games. 61 projects, 10 sports, 42 medals.'

Funding partners

About this project

Explore the people, research centres and partner organisations behind this project.

Get in touch

Contact SPARC to discuss facilities, partnerships, doctoral research and more

Contact us

Research team

Alice Bullas

Dr Alice Bullas

Research fellow

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Chuang Yuan Chin

Dr Chuang-Yuan Chiu

Researcher

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Simon Choppin

Dr Simon Choppin

Senior Research Fellow

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Leon Foster

Dr Leon Foster

Researcher

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Simon Goodwill

Dr Simon Goodwill

Principal Research Fellow and Head of Sports Engineering

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Nick Hamilton

Nick Hamilton

Principal Research Fellow

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Ben Heller

Dr Ben Heller

Reader

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Dr Andy Hext

Researcher

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Chris Hudson

Dr Chris Hudson

Senior Research Fellow

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John Kelley

Dr John Kelley

Research Fellow

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Terry Senior

Terry Senior

Principal Research Fellow

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Paul Smith


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