Category Archives: Publications

A new Journal, the rise and rise of sport technology

journal of advanced sport technology.jpgCongratulations to Abbas Meamarbashi and colleagues on the founding of the Journal of Advanced Sports Technology, servicing the middle east as well as the international community, it so exciting to see it developing everywhere. Sports Technology really has exploded in the past decade becoming a mainstream role in many sporting organisations and popular through consumer devices. It also offers unparalleled opportunities for sports scientists and allied health researchers and professionals to ask and answer many more interesting research questions that can ultimately benefit humanity.


Its a delight to see Griffith SABEL director David Rowlands amongst the editorial board too. Thanks for the invitation to publish the guest piece “Wearable Technology in sport, a convergence of trends” as well. I quite enjoyed exploring the underlying trends that have created the opportunities today and some pointers for the way forward.


You can read the entire first issue here


Sport 2.0, where are we heading?

sport 2-0 andy miah.jpgSometime ago I had the opportunity to review an interesting book for MIT press entitled SPORT 2.0 with a complimentary copy turning up in the mail just recently. As someone working in advancing the use of technology in sport this book provided a refreshing viewpoint of what is happening from a grander perspective. It speaks to the way we think and do sport as the world changes before our very eyes with almost no aspect of sport left untouched. In my own little niche it reminds me of Porters work for HBR on Smart devices (How smart connected devices are transforming competition). Andy Miah, the author takes us on a tour deforce of what we might think sport is through looking at what games are culturally as well as in the more traditional sporting context. He considers Sport 2.0 in the context  of the digital environment, gaming and augmented reality as progressive and at times disruptive innovations. The history and ensuing evolution of the Olympic games makes for a very interesting case study and is a major focus. An entire section of the book looks at the development of the games in modern times with the influence of media, social media, citizen journalism and what mobile technologies are doing in this arena. If your so deeply into your sport or technology such that you can’t see the wood for the trees this one might give you a grander perspective, all for not much more than a paperback  price.


# Sport 2.0

Congratulations James Lee

jimssportslab-smallCongratulations to our SABEL NT director James Lee (and founder of Jim’s Sports Lab) on his recent promotion to Senior Lecturer at Charles Darwin University and recent publication.

Dr. Lee has never been shy to follow his passion for sports technology a journey that has taken him to Japan for a year with Ohgi laboratory, and several teaching and research positions at a number of leading Austrlian universities. Since landing at Chares Darwin university just a few years ago he has transformed their teaching programmes through the adoption of online and social media technologies to create a more engaging programme, led several research initiatives to help solve problems unique to the Northern areas, coordinated the areas participation in a CRC bid (fingers crossed) and continued to collaborate widely.

Recently this has also leading to a publication on cloud based wearable sensor technologies and data analytics platform, as a partnership between SABEL Labs members and the Kanoya National Institute of Sports and Fitness.

An Architectural Based Framework for the Distributed Collection, Analysis and Query from Inhomogeneous Time Series Data Sets and Wearables for Biofeedback Applications

James Lee 1,* David Rowlands 2, Nicholas Jackson 2, Raymond Leadbetter 2, Tomohito Wada 3 and Daniel A. James

Abstract: The increasing professionalism of sports persons and desire of consumers to imitate this has led to an increased metrification of sport. This has been driven in no small part by the widespread availability of comparatively cheap assessment technologies and, more recently, wearable technologies. Historically, whilst these have produced large data sets, often only the most rudimentary analysis has taken place (Wisbey et al in: “Quantifying movement demands of AFL football using GPS tracking”). This paucity of analysis is due in no small part to the challenges of analysing large sets of data that are often from disparate data sources to glean useful key performance indicators, which has been a largely a labour intensive process. This paper presents a framework that can be cloud based for the gathering, storing and algorithmic interpretation of large and inhomogeneous time series data sets. The framework is architecture based and technology agnostic in the data sources it can gather, and presents a model for multi set analysis for inter- and intra- devices and individual subject matter. A sample implementation demonstrates the utility of the framework for sports performance data collected from distributed inertial sensors in the sport of swimming.

You can download the full version Here PDF Version:



ASTN-Q sneak peak

ASTN-Q conference.JPGThanks to the Journal of Fitness research all our academic participants have had their posters from tomorrows (Aug 9th) ASTN-Q Research and Innovation meeting published as journal papers. If you can’t wait till tomorrow have a peek here online and look forward to seeing you all. If you haven’t registered yet theres probably a few seats up the back still 😉



Validate or get it to market ?

fitness-research-logo.jpgAt the most  recent wearable technology conference in Melbourne we had speakers from industry and industry all weighing in on the latest developments of wearables.  I had as conference chair the at times challenging task of facilitating an emerging debate on wether ‘product’ should be rushed to market, or first scientifically validated and then released to market. Not surprisingly in a rising growth market being first to market is critical for gaining market share so hanging back and validating might not be desirable…unless of course it doesn’t work, which has brought undone a few companies playing in this space in recent times.

After the conference I spent some time with colleague James Lee musing  this over and considering the adoption of wearables in the sports science community we published this invited article for the Journal of Fitness research (get the full issue here , its open access). Have a read…what do you think?


Volume 5, Issue 1, April 2015 | JOURNAL OF FITNESS RESEARCH

Daniel James1 and James B. Lee2

The increasing adoption of off the shelf wearable technologies by sports scientists is a real sign of the times. It was not so long ago that the thought of using lab based body mounted sensors was new and even treated with suspicion. Today, specialist products for sports science exist and the use of the underlying sensors has been well validated1 and since that time, have been applied to all manner of sporting applications2,3. Body mounted instruments offer comparable (though sometimes different) method of the quanti cation of human activity. It has opened the way for consideration of the use of body mounted sensors for a variety of purposes and offered an opportunity to study human movement in relatively unconstrained environments4 where considerations such as ecological validity could be removed. Not only outside the lab, but for the rst time the performance environment could itself be assessed. In competitive sport the issue of feedback and unfair advantage had to be considered and today GPS sensors are accepted in many forms of team sports during competitive practice.

This change has been driven in no small part to worldwide trends in electronic industries that make this possible. The well-established trend of

miniaturisation of electronic components, rst proposed by Moore in the 1960’s shows the doubling of complexity every 18 months5. The net effect of this is that devices become proportionally smaller and cheaper. This has led to market place convergence of a range of technologies (of which smart phones are a mash up of many components including computer platform, sensors, video camera and web aware telemetry platform). In turn the market responds with a greater demand for these products as they become increasingly useful and inexpensive in the growing consumer sports technology market6.

It is here that sports science’s traditional approaches to measurement and instrument is itself subject to digital disruption and the Fitbit is a good example of that7. Here we have a consumer product, itself a trickle down by product of the work that has been undertaken in sports science and allied health, that not only have their origins as tools of science creating a market, but also opening up opportunities not possible by these more mature and dedicated products.

Whilst products like the Fitbit and what are used professionally on the surface are measuring the same thing and do so using the same basic sensors, i.e. accelerometers, each product is driven by its different market segment and achieves its goals through different design decisions. Understanding these, leads to making better decisions when choosing what is the best tool for a particular application.

Lab based technologies (ambulatory or xed) have a signi cantly higher cost, both the capital required to purchase and the more hidden cost, that of having a user suitably experienced to use it. Thus they are suited to high accuracy studies of not too many participants. Commercial wearables on the other hand are at least an order of magnitude cheaper to purchase and can be used widely. They represent an opportunity to do larger scale studies of more participants and don’t require a sophisticated operator. These products, driven by the desire for social engagement (consumers like this interaction and are more likely to continue to use and purchase in the future) over data aggregation opportunities across whole communities. Therefore commercially popular devices can possibly be an option for researchers to consider using.

Research quality monitoring platforms, typically use high rate sensors, today in the order of 1000 Hz. In addition they may also have other sensors, modularity and to accommodate for long periods of operation large capacity batteries. All data is collected and stored in raw form with the minimum of ltering, to allow for the most robust of analysis later on8. Fitbits and other commercial wearables need to make substantial compromises to achieve their small form factor and lower cost, so available computational power, sensor sets and batteries all must be substantially smaller. These compromises necessitate much lower sample rates, typically around 10Hz, or interrupt driven footfall events. Raw data is stored in aggregate form, usually in epochs that provide enough accuracy for a user and reduce the required amount to be stored, for example a 1 minute epoch of 10 Hz data is a 600 times reduction in data, but the trade off is resolution and accuracy.

As these consumer products continue to create a market appetite for such technologies, so too the market eventually becomes more sophisticated and the appetite for greater accuracy grows. Coupled with

technology trends we will increasingly see products like the Fitbit grow ever closer to their research quality cousins. Consider this, rather than doing studies of n=20 for statistical signi cant that n=2M is well within the realms of possibility…how exciting.

For now though they each have a role and a place. Understanding both of these in conjunction with either accepting an accuracy compromise, or that accuracy is paramount, for a sports scientist. Therefore, the sports scientist has to not only understand his or her objective, but needs to have considerable knowledge in the technology to be able to make an informed choice. In comparing apples with oranges it is perhaps helpful to see them as a fruit salad for the consumption of the discerning fitness professional.



A little piece for the internet of things (IoT) on wearables in Sport

about_the_book-1We wrote the following piece for Telit’s Internet of things executive handbook it was nice to take a broader view of the context of whats happening in sport.

 James, DA. (2016) Wearable Technology in Sport: An exemplar of the Internet of Things A. Bufalino (Ed.) In Internet of things executive handbook (pp 48-49), Telit Communications, Germany

Wearable technology, a key component in the Internet of Things (IoT), offers the opportunity for information and life to seamlessly integrate. Although the technologies are just beginning, they are not only fashionable but also very topical through tremendous growth as we consider the many possibilities. Wearable technology and its adoption in sports are viewed through the underlying trends in technology development, technology uptake and its transformative effects on several industries.

We have found that both the component technologies and ensuing market size agree with the trends outlined by Moore’s Law. We see wearables as a vital link in the convergence of many technologies, from smart sensors, fabrics that incorporate communication technologies through to large-scale data centres, all driven not by legislation but by consumer desire.

In the medium term (5-10 years) there will be from 8-30 times more wearable devices on the market for medical, sport, leisure and lifestyle applications. Beyond sport, and the scope of this article, we foresee future scenarios in the areas of health (prevention, out patient and recovery services), consumer behaviour and everyday living.

sportsOf the likely scenarios for wearable sensors, the sports industry tends to lead the way, with many wearable products now used actively in the training of athletes, and dominating the recent CES (a global consumer electronics show) in Las Vegas, 2014. Why, because sport is engaging, has a positive message, there are some very powerful brands and sport also touches on many personal aspirations.

For example the 2014 Engadget Best of CES Awards featured many wearable sports products with the peoples’ choice award scoring over 50%. Beyond the glitz there are several factors that indicate why wearable technology and sport go so well together.

The global sport industry is estimated at around $US620B and considerably larger when the ancillary benefits to health, cost savings, productivity improvements are consideredThis is reputedly the world’s third largest market. Wearable technology is a small slice of this at just a few billion today, but growing by an estimated 20% a year. Sport as a leisure activity attracts passion from participants and is an example of positivity and free choice for the participants. The growth in leisure products is driven by the innate competitive nature of sport to improve performance, the desire to emulate elite sporting stars, and the dream of an augmented, better self.


Sport provides many favorable characteristics for products: it has a lower barrier to the market place because of the ‘fad’ nature of the products, fast cycle times and there are fewer barriers to entry, such as the absence of the TGA (therapeutic goods act) in the case of medical devices. The market shows little sign of saturation and seems to be driven from the supply side by startups and early adopters: it meets a growing demand from data driven consumers. The historical trends of exponential growth seem set to continue when looking at the historical and future trends of the underlying technologies. The market appetite for association with technology has led sports businesses to adopt online/mobile strategies that demonstrate a 680% increase in ROI. More specifically, Nike has launched an accelerator programme for developers interested in their Nike Fuel and other wearable technology products.

Sport facilitates the dream of a better, sexier, fitter self; products can tap into this dream and function as an enabler; it has its exemplars and idols and sporting brands that are very recognizable; and it has spread in a social way such as Fitbit, who have created and captured 77% of the existing market.

References (Not included in the final published version)

James, D. A. (2006). The application of inertial sensors in elite sports monitoring. In The Engineering of Sport 6 (pp. 289-294). Springer New York.

Engadget (2104) date accessed 29042014

Kearney, AT (2011). The sports market: Major trends and challenges in an industry full of passion. Date accessed 90414

Frontier Economics (2010), The economic contribution of sport to Australia, date accessed 290414

James, D. A. (2015) “Wearable technology – An economic forecast”, date accessed July 07, 2015

Mason, D. S. (1999). What is the sports product and who buys it? The marketing of professional sports leagues. European Journal of Marketing, 33(3/4), 402-419.

Sanchez, R. (1996). Strategic product creation: Managing new interactions of technology, markets, and organizations. European Management Journal, 14(2), 121-138.

Carlaw, S (2013) Emerging Bluetooth Verticals, Bluetooth World Shanghai

Google insights (2013) Understanding the Full Value of Mobile: Adidas Drives In-Store Traffic with Mobile) accessed 290414


Hof, R (2014) How Fitbit Survived As A Hardware Startup, Forbes, Accessed 290414


James, DA. (2016) Wearable Technology in Sport: An exemplar of the Internet of Things A. Bufalino (Ed.) In Internet of things executive handbook (pp 48-49), Telit Communications, Germany