Sports Technology Startup Spotlight

Startup Spotlight :: Archinisis

In this startup spotlight, we feature Archinisis, a spin-off from Benedikt Fasel (the founder's) PhD research. We talk about what made him take the leap, how he started off (the support he got and the hurdles he faced). We also cover some of the progress they made and what they are focusing on going forward.

Who Is & What Does Archinisis Do?

Archinisis is a startup based in Switzerland and they are focused on helping elite athletes achieve optimal performance through objective data and personalised training. They do that by using a wearable sensor (IMU) to capture movement data of an athlete during training/testing. Then upon uploading that data to the Archinisis platform, it crunches all that data and provides the coach with relevant performance metrics and useful visualisation of data. This means coaches can keep track of their athletes’ training, know how they are improving, identify where they need improving and plan out appropriate next steps. A key advantage of this system is the efficiency in getting the useful insights rather than spending too much time analysing data and comparing with video capture. Currently, their off-the-shelf performance analysis solutions cater to four sports, including Alpine Skiing, Biathlon (winter sport), Cross-Country Skiing and Track & Field. Besides that, the Archinisis team also provides additional services such as on-site performance analysis and custom algorithm development for people with different requirements.

Source: Archinisis

The Why & How It Started?

Benedikt Fasel, the founder of Archinisis, started working on his PhD at the Laboratory of Movement Analysis and Measurement at EPFL back in 2012. His thesis/research was about improving movement analysis using inertial sensors (or IMUs). He developed a methodology to process inertial and GNSS data captured from alphine ski athletes and accurately quantify and analyse the athletes’ movements. During the course of that, Benedikt was working closely with Ski and snowboard coaches from multiple national teams. He realised that they (the coaches) could really use technology to assist them in better tracking and understanding the performance of their athletes. Trawling through the internet did not bring up any tech product that could meet those coaches’ needs. So after some careful thought and prompting by the Swedish National Cross-Country and Biathlon teams, Benedikt decided to start Archinisis in 2018. His focus was on algorithm and software development (which is where his strength lies) and he partnered with an established sensor company – Advanced Sport Instruments, who supplied the hardware and probably also provided support.

The hardware: Advanced Motion Sensor by Advanced Sport Instruments

How It Has Been Going

At the start, Archinisis had the support of a couple of organisations including Fri Up and the Fribourg Development Agency (promotion économique / Wirtschaftsförderung). This also meant Archinisis had an office space at the Bluefactory in Fribourg (Switzerland). Then through collaborating with the Swedish coaches, Benedikt was able to better understand the needs of cross-country skiing and biathlon on the field and what would be required in terms of hardware and software. Within the first year, the solutions for those two sports were launched and Archinisis also brought in an additional team member.

Team BSV IBEX

Having had the product validated by a national team meant greater confidence from potential users. However, getting other elite athletes and teams on board is not without its challenges. Elite/national teams/athletes can sometimes struggle with getting additional funding for new technologies due to various reasons. The good news is, it was a matter of time that more teams/organisations sign up; and as of the end of 2019 and start of 2020, they have had the Finnish and French National teams, and the Hochalpines Institut Ftan adopted their performance analysis solutions. The Finnish team has been very happy with the system and used it during the World Cup races. To add to that, Archinisis sponsored team – Team BSV IBEX achieved good results in their first season as a Visma Ski Classics team. This further attests to the product’s efficacy.

Interview with Team BSV IBEX and Archinisis (in Swiss German). Source: www.suedostschweiz.ch

Summer Sports + Improvements

Track & Field sprinting with data overlay

Archinisis started expanding their analysis from winter sports to summer sports, and in June 2020, they launched their Track and Field performance analysis platform. It basically uses the same hardware but the team developed algorithms specific to sprint analyses which provides metrics such as running cadence, step length, vertical oscillation etc. They also continue to build features such as video synchronisation and remote training monitoring which is really applicable in the covid pandemic where distancing is encouraged. Moreover, they made further improvements on their analysis giving centimetre accuracy and the ability to compute mechanical energy and motion efficiency.

What Are They Working On Next?

Example of video fusion with GNSS-IMU data

Features ~ From my conversation with Benedikt, it only sounds like more and more useful features will be added that will be even more helpful to coaches and athletes for analysing performance in those current sports that they cover. One example is the next generation video fusion for alpine skiing and snowboarding (see image above). Another thing that could potentially be in the pipeline is bluetooth or BLE integration and a smart phone app which means a more portable or streamline workflow.

Partnered Solutions ~ They would continue to provide customisation services because they recognise that some people have different applications or they may require something different such as integration with other systems. For example, Archinisis recently extended their partnership with the French team (Fédération Française de Ski) and became an official partner with their sports science department. They will be working together to develop a solution for ski jumping. Other sports that Archinisi may consider looking into in the future include speed skating or inline skating.

Partnered Research ~ Coming from a research background himself, Benedikt is open to collaborations with universities and research institutes. One of them that is in progress is a partnership with the Technical University of Munich where they are doing a validation study on Track and Field. It will be interesting to see the outcome and what could come out of that partnership.

Lastly, as part of their growth, they have taken on another team member (as of Nov 2020) to expand their outreach to other markets with an initial focus on the Norway market. For anyone who is interested in what Archinisis is doing or can see a possible partnership, feel free to reach out to them. The best place to contact Benedikt is via email (contact@archinisis.ch) or stay updated by subscribing to their news here. They are also on FacebookLinkedInTwitter and Instagram. With that, I leave you with this video below where Benedikt pitched at the SwissNex 2020 demo night. Thanks for reading!

Archinisis : Software for elite sport performance analysis

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