News & Events Sports Technology

Sports Tech Shoutouts 2022 04

For this edition of shoutouts, we talk about a table tennis phone app that uses computer vision to track a player's performance, a soccer sensor in the form of a shin guard and a novel mental performance training app that will make mental training much more accessible. Plus some sports tech events you should be aware of. Read more below.

A warm welcome to our 4th shoutouts for 2022. I have been a bit slack on the shoutouts this couple of months because there have just been too many things going on. So I would have to play a bit of catch-up here. Before I go to the shoutouts, here are a few sports, tech and research-related things/events that might be of interest if you are a follower of this blog:

  1. The International Sports Engineering Association (ISEA) conference – After 2 years of not having any face-to-face events, the ISEA conference finally managed to run an in-person event at Purdue University from the 6th to the 9th of June. If you were not able to attend or weren’t aware of this, AND you are interested to learn about innovations and research in sports engineering, you can find the different posters and paper presentations here: link.
  2. Sports Tech Virtual & Hybrid Hackathon 2022 – An event organised by TH.0 (or TH point 0), this hybrid/virtual hackathon is happening from the 22nd – the 24th of July (BST). It will focus on four areas including “Powering Elite Athletes”, “Immersive Sports Experience”, “Fan Relationship Management” and “Bridging Private and Public Sectors”. Registration for the event is free and anyone interested can sign up on their Eventbrite page.
  3. Sports Tech World Series Conference – This is the Australia Sports Tech conference. Pre-Covid, the Sports Tech World Series (STWS) ran several in-person conferences across the globe and those were all paused for safety reasons. Now as live events are restarting, the STWS team is organising their first reboot event in Queensland. The conference is part of a bigger event “Australia Sports Innovation Week” that happens from 30th Aug – 2 Sep. There will be field tours, masterclasses, workshops, startup pitching and awards to celebrate the best in the industry. More details are on the STWS website.
  4. Sports Tech Research & Innovation Summit – Another Sports Tech conference but on the other side of the world – Belgium. It takes place on the 14th and 15th of Sep. The event hosted by the Sports Tech Research Network (STRN) focuses on research innovations from the universities that have the potential to address gaps in the marketplace. So there will be a showcase of the researchers as well as startups that have successfully spun off from research. There will also be experts from the industry who bring their perspectives and highlight what “problems” tech could potentially solve. More info on their website.

Now back to our main content. For this edition of shoutouts, we have:

  • OSAI – a computer vision platform that can track a table tennis game for performance analysis purposes as well as for improving spectatorship through mixed reality animations.
  • Humanox – a smart shin guard that integrates motion tracking sensors to protective gear for soccer/football players.
  • Arcletic – a mental performance training app that measures and tracks an athlete’s mental performance.

OSAI Launched Computer Vision App To Help Table Tennis Players Analyse & Improve Their Game

OSAI is a sports tech startup that has developed a computer vision and AI platform that analyses various sports to capture (and provide) real-time game data and analytics. Their image processing capability is offered in 3 main product streams. They include: 1) mixed-reality animations for live broadcasting, 2) automatically capturing real-time data of games for tracking scores and other important game-related metrics, and 3) real-time and post-match analysis to help table tennis players improve their performance. So a typical setup for live capture of games involves a video camera, connected to a computer that processes those images in real-time. The processed footage and data can then be accessed by broadcasters and organisations that need the data. The camera should be able to shoot at 120FPS, especially for live mixed-reality animations and where a fast-paced game like table tennis is concerned. It should also be positioned so that the whole game area and players are in the frame.

Example images of Mixed-Reality animations live during a table tennis match  

When we look at their mixed-reality footage in table tennis, we can see that lots of information are being processed (see example images above). Some of those things include:

  • detecting the position and speed of the ball,
  • tracking position of the players and where they are relative to the table,
  • the history and direction of where the balls travelled (during a rally) and where they landed on the table
  • tracking of whose serve it is, the fouls, wins and the score
  • heat maps of the players and the ball

So the OSAI system is not only identifying and tracking the moving things (players, ball) and the non-moving things (the table, the net), but it also “understands” the game rules for scoring. Besides table tennis, OSAI has also worked on other sports such as tennis, snooker, ice hockey, volleyball, soccer and esports.

OSAI app screens

More recently, OSAI launched a table tennis app for the consumer market. Their goal is to allow table tennis players to be able to track their own practices and games simply using their iPhone. It is free to download and the main free to use feature is the table tennis diary for keeping track of trainings or matches. It allows users to add information about a match (opponent, score etc), add notes and video/s, share video highlights with peers or coaches, get feedback, and plan their trainings. Videos of the match or training session can be captured directly with the iPhone or captured with another camera and uploaded to the server (via the app or website). But more importantly, for players who want more insights into their game and abilities, they can purchase a full personalised report of each game. The report will show detailed analytics of a player’s game, breaking down every stroke, every serve and every rally. It points out what works and doesn’t work for the player and which areas they can practice further. Players who don’t use an iPhone can still sign up to access the web-version of the platform. OSAI has plans to launch an Android version and people who are interested can sign up on their website: link. For those who are interested to see what the reports looks like, OSAI has shared some analyses of matches during the Tokyo Olympics. Also, do check out their promo video below:

Humanox Wants To Track Game Metrics While Protecting The Player’s Shin

Smart Shin Guard

Humanox is a Spain-based startup developing smart wearables for soccer players. More specifically, Smart Shin Guards – Shin guards that are built-in with multiple sensors and antennas to track a soccer player’s physical and physiological data on the field. We previously put together an article about soccer sensors that track activities on the field. Although most of them are worn unobtrusively, there are still reported incidences where devices could get in the way. By integrating the sensors into the shin guards, Humanox has essentially removed the need for an additional wearable device to track the players. Since players typically wear shin guards beneath their socks, using the Smart Shin Guards means simply replacing their regular shin guards with these sensorised ones. Dubbed the HUOX 50 (or HX50), the Smart Shin Guard is built with Carbon Fibre which makes it ultralight while being able to absorb high shock. Embedded within the shin guards are electronics containing:

  • accelerometers & gyroscopes on each side – for motion tracking
  • GPS/GNSS modules – for location tracking
  • Optical sensor (Left Shin Guard) – for heart rate and temperature tracking
  • Microphone – for audio tracking to discern kicks from other activities
  • Mobile connectivity & Bluetooth – for transmitting data
  • Wireless charging (so everything is sealed within and nothing is exposed)
Created with GIMP

Players can add/register their Smart Shin Guards on the Huox Space platform. This can be accessed either on the web browser or the Humanox app. Both apps and the website work similarly. If using the app, users would start a session with the app, put on the Smart Shin Guards and be tracked throughout their session. At the end of the session, all the metrics of the session/match will be shown on the app. Some of those metrics include: speeds (average, sprinting, max), accelerations, distances, number of strokes, ball contacts, possession time, passes, shots, L/R leg use, heart rate and more. Use of the platforms would require a subscription that comes separately from the purchase of the Smart Shin Guards.

HUMANOX participates in the annual FIFA certification event

Since 2021, Humanox has been part of the FIFA innovation Program under the challenge category “Innovative Electronic Performance & Tracking Systems”. Through the program, they aim to become validated and certified under the FIFA
Quality Programme for EPTS. Here are more details of their innovation program project summary: link. You can read more about their recent certification event here: link. Or check out their intro video below:

Arcletic Is Making Mental Performance Training More Accessible For Athletes

Arcletic is a health-tech startup working in the area of mental (performance) training. There are many aspects of training that contribute to the success of an athlete, and different sports will have different requirements in terms of skills and physical preparation. But one area that is somewhat similar and equally important across all high-level sports is mental preparation/training. Typically, athletes who are well funded or have enough support can get access to a sports psychologist who would look after their mental well-being. Sports psychologists can help equip athletes with tools/strategies for managing anxiety and stress whilst under pressure. This can lead to better focus and performance when the athletes are playing/competing. But not every athlete can have access to the assistance of a sports psychologist. That’s where Arcletic aims to come in and fill some of that gap. By making mental performance training much more accessible to athletes (and high performers) who want to excel in that area.

In partnership with the University of Vienna, the team at Arcletic developed an app to train and measure mental performance simply using your smartphone. Called Immersive Mental Skills Training (IMST), it is a combination of 3D audio that takes the user through an immersive experience, and live monitoring of the user’s heart rate to track the user’s response to the experience. The immersive audio is like a form of simulation training. It places the user in a scenario, for example, a race day. A commentator talks through the sequence of a race event and describes what the user should be feeling. At the same time, the user will hear the typical sounds at a race event – the spectators, the announcer, the cheering, etc. Throughout the experience, the user is asked to lie down in a comfortable position while closing their eyes and listening to the audio using headphones. The more immersed the user is, the more effective the imagery training. The heart rate can be tracked just using the smartphone camera or a heart rate chest strap. At the end of the session, the user gets a score in five areas – focus, psycho-regulation, imagery, activation and relaxation. At the moment, they just have an iPhone app and have IMST programs for sprinting and soccer. More will be added to the platform and they are also open to partnering with organisations that are after custom programs. Read more about them here: link, and check out their trailer video below:

And that is our fourth edition of shoutouts for 2022. If you would like more information about any of the above, or you have some sports tech ideas you would like to chat to someone about, feel free to reach out or leave a comment below. If you enjoy our content, please do share it on social using the links below and make sure to subscribe to our blog here: link. As always, thanks for reading!

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