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2020


‘SMART TEXTILES WILL

REVOLUTIONISE THE WORLD OF SPORTS’

MAARTEN GIJSSEL (KINETIC ANALYSIS)


NANO4SPORTS IS TOT STAND GEKOMEN MET DE STEUN VAN VOLGENDE PARTNERS

co-financiering

met de steun van

partners

Sports and Technology

1


‘WE LOOK AT BEST

PRACTICES, THE EXCHANGE OF EXPERIENCES, COLLABORATIONS WITH

PARTNERS’ TINE VAN LOMMEL

2


PRE FACE

SMART SPORT AND EXERCISE THANKS TO NANOTECHNOLOGY! Health is important to everyone, and

Concrete cases were set up with ten

we’re all prepared to do something for

companies and implemented by run-

it. And while it is crystal clear that sport

ners, cyclists and... With very promis-

and exercise are very important factors,

ing results, which are described in this

we like to know how much exercise

magazine.

we are getting and whether we are exercising effectively and safely. This

What is typical about an Interreg

explains the success of pedometers,

project such as Nano4sports, is that

heart rate monitors and similar devices.

knowledge and expertise from both

Top athletes want measurements that

Flanders and the Netherlands are

show their performance in detail.

brought together to develop new business and prepare it to be brought

Technology can of course play an

to market. In these terms, the proj-

important role in this. And it’s here that

ect fits perfectly with the design of

Nano4sports plays a role. They bring

the Interreg Flanders-Netherlands

knowledge institutions, companies

programme, more specifically to

and the end-user into contact with

stimulate innovation around concrete

each other to convert all the available

social needs, which also contribute

knowledge into usable tools. To be

to strengthening the economy in

useful, these tools must be as small

this border region. At the same time,

as possible and very precise. Nano-

the innovation policy of the member

technology is a solution for this, and

states and provinces from the border

knowledge about it is firmly implanted

region is also served. Hence also the

in the Flanders-Netherlands border

willingness of these parties, along with

region thanks to players such as imec

Europe, to contribute and make this

and imec Netherlands. But to be able

project possible.

to develop these tools, test facilities and sports science knowledge are also

With this project, Nano4sports has

required. Nano4sports was able to

contributed to an even stronger field

mobilise this through various research

lab operation in the Netherlands and

groups at Leuven University, Ghent

laid the foundation for this concept in

University, Eindhoven University of

Flanders. The cooperation between

Technology and Fontys University of

these knowledge institutions and

Applied Sciences. The involvement of

companies will undoubtedly continue

companies was absolutely necessary

to ensure a stronger market position

to make certain products effective

for companies that do business in

and to bring them to market later.

sport & health.

SUS BERGMANS PROJECT ADVISER FOR INTERREG FLANDERS-NETHERLANDS

CONCRETE CASES WERE SET UP WITH TEN COMPANIES AND IMPLEMENTED BY RUNNERS, CYCLISTS AND... WITH VERY PROMISING RESULTS 3


2020

THE NANO4SPORTS PROJECT

6 68

The emergence of a special Dutch-Flemish cooperation: to stimulate the technological innovation in the sports world

The review after three years: ‘This is not finished yet. It’s now time for the follow-up’

COLOPHON Nano4sports is published by Arko Sports Media, on behalf of the Nano4Sportspartners (http://www.nano4sports.eu/partners/). Project ‘Nano4Sports’ is funded within the Interreg V Flanders-Netherlands program, a cross border collaboration program with financial support from the European Regional Development Fund. More info: www.grensregio.eu Editor Frans Oosterwijk E-mail: f.oosterwijk@chello.nl

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Contributors Ivan Crabbe, Mark van der Heijden Production editor Joost de Jong E-mail: joost.de.jong@sportsmedia.nl Design www.ikgraphicdesign.com Pictures Shutterstock a.o.

Print Drukkerij Van der Poorten, Leuven (Belgium) Arko Sports Media Wiersedreef 7 3433 ZX Nieuwegein The Netherlands Phone: +31 30 707 30 00 E-mail: info@sportsmedia.nl © 2019 Arko Sports Media


CON TENT

CYCLING 14

CASE: Bike2Know

16

IN DEPTH: Developing a smart shirt for cyclists

RUNNING 20

CASE: Running technique feedback

22

CASE: Bladerunner

24

CASE: Ultrasound

26

CASE: Sprint analysis

28

CASE: Fatigue, performance and injury risk

30

CASE: Pertex

32

CASE: Lower impact running

34

IN DEPTH: Sports doctor Ruben De Gendt

believes in the huge potential of nanotechnology

REHABILITATION 38

CASE: 24/7 monitoring of team sports athletes

40

CASE: Fitbox2Go 2.0

42

CASE: Smart brace

43

IN DEPTH: Back in motion just in time

MOTIVATION & FEEDBACK 48

CASE: Support and engage women to go running

50

CASE: Sonification

52

CASE: Perform under pressure

54

CASE: Engage people through data

56

CASE: Prevent dropout

58

IN DEPTH: ‘People tend to be more active when

they are encouraged’

URBAN SPORTS 62

CASE: The impact of freerunning

64

CASE: Senskate

66

IN DEPTH: 360-degree view on the skateboard

5


NANO4SPORTS

STIMULATES

technological innovation

SPORTS WORLD in the

The emergence of a special Dutch-Flemish cooperation project

Technological innovations have a major impact on the way we enjoy sport and exercise. Nano4Sports uses sensor technology to develop smart, innovative solutions that enable us to exercise safely, better and for longer. But Nano4sports is also a unique partnership between Flemish and Dutch knowledge institutions, across different disciplines, and in which the relevant border region business community is explicitly involved. BY FRANS OOSTERWIJK

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INTRO DUCTION

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The scientific basis for uniting sport and sensor technology was already present in both countries: eminent, renowned knowledge and research institutions that have had sport innovation high on the agenda for some time. And on both sides of the border, equally renowned sports innovation-oriented companies that can convert scientific knowledge and insights into concrete products and applications. Moreover, there are parties that have been working

Steven Vos is head of the Move to Be research group at Fontys University of Applied Sciences and professor of Design and Analysis of Intelligent Systems for Vitality and Leisure Time Sports at Eindhoven University of Technology.

together and exchanging knowledge, data and people for a long time.

international stage, seven partners

and through co-financing by the

Based on the conviction that we have

(see box) worked in 2016 with Tine

province of Flemish Brabant, the

all the expertise to develop smart

Van Lommel (Leuven University in-

province of East Flanders, the Flem-

tools and apps based on sensor tech-

novation manager), who acted as

ish government, the province of

nology, and driven by the ambition

lead party, to apply for a subsidy with

North Brabant and the Dutch Ministry

to expose the Flemish-Dutch border

Interreg Vl-NL, the cross-border

of Economic Affairs. The project

region as a sports innovator on the

cooperation programme between

started with mutual commitment.

Flanders and the Netherlands.

You can only do that if you believe

Project coordinator Tine Van Lom-

in the development and power of

mel: “The parties and institutions

bundling.”

Partners The following organisations are partners in the Nano4Sports project: • imec Nederland • Leuven University • imec Vlaanderen • Fontys University of Applied Sciences • Ghent University • Eindhoven University of Technology • Cluster Sports & Technology

8

were doing similar things on both sides of the border. A joint project

TWO WORLDS

like this provides an opportunity for

The purpose of Nano4sports is easy

the parties to get to know each oth-

to describe: develop sensor systems

er better and to join forces in order

(‘tools’) that the athlete can wear

to compete with other regions and

while exercising and that enable him

centres in Europe where the same

or her to improve their sports perfor-

thing is being worked on.”

mance and reduce the risk of injury.

Nano4sports started as a three-year

This sounds like a piece of cake

investment project by the partners

in the age of heart rate monitors,

involved, clarifies Steven Vos, repre-

pedometers and cycle computers.

sentative of the Dutch contributor to

But that is just scratching the sur-

the project. “We have received more

face. You can have instruments and

than €2 million in subsidies, 50% of

equipment that measure and record

the budget, from Interreg. The other

everything, but the cyclist looking

50%, also more than €2 million, was

for the most ergonomic position on

raised by the partners themselves

the bike needs different data than


INTRO DUCTION

‘THE BASIS OF NANO4SPORTS IS EXPERIMENTAL RESEARCH, WHICH PROVIDES AS MANY QUESTIONS AS CHALLENGES. IT IS VERY EXCITING AND COMPLEX’

University Indoor Athletics Hall, Ghent University Sport Science Lab and Topsporthal and the Eddy Merckx Cycling Centre. In the Netherlands, the existing field laboratories of the Sports & Technology cluster participated in these pilot tests. In all cases, demand-driven work was carried out. Athletes, both elite and recreational, were involved in the measurements

STEVEN VOS

at an early stage in order to take specific questions and needs into account.

injury-free gait, or the hockey player

WALKING, CYCLING, 24-HOUR MONITORING

who wants to improve his/her pen-

The focus at Nano4sports was pri-

sor systems. The availability of data

alty corner. You want to be able to

marily on measuring and monitoring

is also a major challenge. It must be

invent a sensor system that can not

walking and cycling. And this meant

possible to read and analyse the data

only measure, but also analyse the

24-hour monitoring in which spe-

immediately so immediate action can

available data and translate it into

cific parameters such as heart rate,

be taken.”

targeted feedback.

oxygen intake, muscle tension, body

“But other things need to be consid-

Vos: “The basis of Nano4sports is

temperature, hours of sleep, stress

ered when taking measurements for

experimental research, which pro-

level, etc. are measured over a longer

recreational sport. These activities

vides as many questions as challeng-

period of time, both before, during

don’t generally take place in a labora-

es. What are you going to measure,

and after physical exertion.

tory, they take place in a park, sports

for which sport, how are you going

In Flanders, these measurements

field or other public space where it

to measure it, and for what purpose?

often took place in the living lab

is not possible to hang a full set of

How solid must your research base

platform Run4Sports & Bike4Sports,

cables. This is why one of the twen-

be before you can convert it into

a collaboration between Leuven

ty cases (see page XX et seq.) was

the runner who wants to develop an

a product? How long does it take before a product comes to market? You are working with fundamental researchers and researchers who are more focused on implementation and design. And these worlds are controlled very differently. What language do you speak? How do you make those worlds more aware of each other? All in all, it is very excit-

Vos: “Measurements in elite sport require more accuracy from the sen-

‘WHEN USING NANOTECHNOLOGY, THERE IS NO ONE SIZE FITS ALL’ STEVEN VOS

ing and complex.”

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focused on devising and designing ‘smart’ textiles, in which movement sensors are integrated into the shirt.” In addition to running, cycling and 24-hour monitoring, Nano4sports also included cases in adapted sports and skateboarding. Vos: “There too, the question was about which sport-relevant information and feedback you could extract from the multitude of data and how to provide that as feedback to the athlete as quickly as possible.”

SELF-MANAGEMENT

Tine Van Lommel is an innovation manager at Leuven University Research & Development, Spin-off & Innovation department.

According to Vos, the challenge is to provide feedback in a meaningful

the feedback to be absorbed and to

sport, can a pedometer do so? Nat-

way so athletes and coaches can

encourage him or her to adjust their

urally, such nanotechnology-based

gain useful insights into their sporting

behaviour accordingly. That’s pretty

tools and apps must be accompanied

performance before, during and after

hard to do. You do not want to over-

by tips and recommendations about

the exercise. Based on this feedback,

load them with advice, nor do you

how to make use of them. Measuring

want to provide excessive guidance.”

is one thing, designing sports and

targeted action can then be taken to increase sports performance, to

Van Lommel: “Nanotechnology low-

exercise programmes based on the

exercise in a ‘safer’ way (to reduce

ers the threshold for sport and exer-

measured data is another.

injuries), or to increase motivation for

cise. But technology on its own does

Vos: “When using nanotechnology,

continuing to exercise. The ultimate

nothing, you have to be open to it.

there is no one size fits all; everything

goal is to ensure the athlete not only

If a doctor or physical therapist can-

depends on the research question

responds to external stimuli (such as

not tempt you to exercise and enjoy

and the target group on which your

the instructions of a coach, trainer, doctor, etc.), but also receives appropriate feedback about his/her own performance via a tool that is provided to independently suggest, learn and retain optimal behaviour over the long term. Vos: “You can give technical feedback to an experienced athlete. He or she can then use his or her own experience to convert that into coaching ideas. But someone who is already finding it difficult to start exercising, or who is exercising from a non-sports background, needs to be approached differently to allow

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‘A CERTAIN PROPORTION OF THE 35 PERCENT WHO DO NOT TAKE PART IN SPORT AND EXERCISE MAY FEEL ENCOURAGED TO PARTICIPATE THROUGH INNOVATIONS THAT INCREASE CONVENIENCE’ TINE VAN LOMMEL


INTRO DUCTION

Project Partners Light (PPL) As part of the project, Flemish and Dutch companies were able to submit an innovation project for collaboration with one or more Nano4Sports partners. Eight innovation projects were selected. These companies are the Project Partners Light (PPL). These include: • Ready2Improve • Nea International • Kinetic Analysis (2 projects) • WeWatt • 2M-Engineering • Usono • Topsportslab

Vos: “I hope this project contributes

DRIVER AND PIONEER

to positioning nanotechnology in

Nano4sports has not yet resulted

an accessible way, in the sense that

in products and inventions that are

people are not afraid of it. But we

available on the market. Vos: “We are

have to be realistic about our ex-

not there yet. We are still investigat-

pectations with regard to the effect

ing where the greatest commercial

on sport and exercise participation.

potential lies. For example, we are

There will always be a part of the

working on a feedback mechanism

population who don’t care for sport

that visualises information and makes

and exercise. Those who don’t want

it available on a screen through audio,

to or can’t take part.”

but that still needs to be developed

Van Lommel: “A certain proportion

in the form of a design and proto-

of the 35 percent who do not take

type. Other tools are already closer

part in sport and exercise may feel

to the market. Ghent University has

encouraged to participate through

developed a system that measures

innovations that increase conveni-

the impact on running and converts

ence. But I think these tools will be

this data into targeted running advice,

research is focused. Take the measur-

received most enthusiastically by

which will probably be in stores soon.

ing equipment alone. You can devel-

those people who have already made

And other companies participating

op a super-measuring instrument for

a commitment to sports and exercise

in Nano4sports, such as Usono, who

top athletes in a laboratory situation,

and who want to remain injury-free

are active in mobile ultrasound, and

but this would be meaningless and

and motivated. Cycling and running

2M Engineering, who are active in

useless in the normal world. And

are the most practised sports, but

sensor solutions that are already on

looking at it the other way round: you

both also have quite a few drop-outs.

the market, have joined up to broaden

may end up with attractive, integrated

This is due to injuries or because

their knowledge base and refine and

measurement and sensor systems

people do not make enough pro-

further develop existing products.”

that are too limited for improving and

gress and become demotivated. How

Van Lommel: “Nano4sports was a

optimising elite sports performance.”

can you prevent this? A lot of things

three-year project. But the institu-

that have been done in Nano4sports

tions and companies involved will

affect this group.”

continue the cooperation in all kinds

Vos: “Technology has a unique ca-

of follow-up processes. In any case,

In the Netherlands and Flanders,

pacity to influence, but it must fit the

that aspect has been very successful:

sports and exercise participation is

context and the person. Its use will

the ties between the participants

around 60-65 percent. Neither Vos

always be a combination between

have been strengthened and the

nor Van Lommel believes the arrival

the end user, the technology, and in

Flemish-Dutch border region has

of new nanotechnology-based tools

many cases, the doctor, coach, train-

once again been able to profile itself

and equipment will remove the ex-

er or lifestyle consultant.”

as a successful sports innovator, this

SPORT AND EXERCISE PARTICIPATION

isting barriers to sports and exercise

time as a driver and pioneer in the

participation.

use of nanotechnology.”

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12


INTRO DUCTION

CYCLING

Cycling is a pre-eminent sport in which endurance plays a significant role and where back problems are lurking because of the long-term sitting in the same position. What can nanotechnology mean for this sport, while cyclists are also known as ‘early adopters’?

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Case: Bike2Know

16

In depth: Developing a smart shirt for cyclists

13


LESS LOWER BACK PAIN FOR CYCLISTS CASE: BIKE2KNOW Brief description of the research

related muscle efforts and fatigue during voluminous and

The purpose was to decrease the overuse injury burden

intense cycling efforts This validates the need for a respec-

in road cycling by creating a device that allows the cyclist

tive real-time motion tracking system for injury prevention

to monitor and control the posture and movements of his

and performance optimisation in cycling.

spine and pelvis during regular cycling training. This device consists of an Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) cluster, in-

Which parties are involved in the research?

tegrated into an athletic cycling shirt. Because lower back

This case was enrolled at the Department of Rehabilitation

pain is highly common in cyclists, and due to the fact that

Sciences (Joke Schuermans), Faculty of Medicine and Health

these complaints are significantly correlated with muscle

Sciences, Ghent University, in collaboration with the Depart-

fatigue due to incorrect lower back and pelvis posture and

ment of Electronics and Information Systems, Faculty of En-

kinematics, the development of an integrated real-time mo-

gineering Sciences and Architecture, Ghent University. Kinet-

tion tracking device is not only believed to significantly

ic Analysis, a small company located in the Netherlands and

lower the prevalence of lower back pain during (volumi-

engaged in motion tracking for sports performance optimi-

nous) rides, it is also believed to contribute to improvements

sation (https://www.kinetic-analysis.com/about​), was also

in comfort and performance capacity. Our first scientific

involved within the context of the ‘Cytex’ project, within

paper, written on the basis of the first results obtained from

which the input of the Bike2Know case was used to man-

our field-lab analyses, demonstrated that lower back and

ufacture an integrated motion tracking system to facilitate

pelvis kinematics are indeed related to the (former) pres-

movement quality in road cycling. Next to the above men-

ence of lower back complaints. Athletes who reported suf-

tioned IMU system, Cytex also used strain gauges to check

fering from (cycling-related) lower back pain from time to

for deficient posture in the coronal, transverse and sagittal

time presented significantly more movement of the entire

planes. Moreover, Cytex did not want to solely focus on the

lumbopelvis unit in both the coronal and transverse planes

lower back unit, but intended to take the entire kinetic chain

when compared to cyclists reporting not to have experi-

into account.  

enced any lower back pain at present or in their recent past. These results indicate that posture and motion of the lower

Where did the research take place?

back and pelvis play a crucial role in the joint balance and

The field-lab was installed in the motion laboratory of the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences (Ghent University) at the University Hospital Campus in Ghent.

‘THERE ARE CHALLENGES AHEAD TO ACHIEVE A FULLY-FLEDGED, ROBUST PROTOTYPE’ 14


CASE

When did the research take place? The field-lab testing series were conducted in two extensive rounds, the first from December 2017 until April 2018, the second round took place in June and July 2019. For the first testing series, 90 amateur cyclists were recruited (both male and female). The second series consisted of 120 amateur cyclists. The first field-lab testing protocol (20172018) consisted of a maximal exercise capacity test on a cycling ergometer (upon which the athlete’s racing bike was mounted), during which the intensity was increased progressively every 2 minutes by increasing the load level;

mapping.”) The exact role of the athlete’s exercise capacity

at the same time, the athlete was instructed to keep his/her

and his/her muscle recruitment patterns in the association

cadance constant. During the last 30 seconds of each load

between kinematics and injury prevalence is subject to

level, full body kinematics (representing the segment posi-

ongoing data processing and analysis.

tions and joint angles during each pedal cycle, acquired at a sampling frequency of 250Hz) were gathered. Afterwards,

For which group of athletes is the research intended?

kinematic profiles (mainly of the trunk and pelvis) were an-

The amateur road cyclist (at least 5 years of cycling experi-

alysed for cycling intensity and the presence of, or (recent)

ence and annual cycling distance of 70 – 100 km on aver-

history of, lower back complaints within our athletes. The

age), both male and female.

testing protocol of 2019 consisted of the same exertional protocol during which the load level was systematically

Is there already a prototype of a possible product?

increased until full exertion was reached, but in this case,

What is currently available is just an intial proof-of-concept.

muscle activation patterns (using surface Electromyography

We have looked at a few methods to integrate the sensors

(sEMG)), oxygen consumption and blood lactate accumu-

with minimal impact on the cycling clothing, and we know

lation) were registered as well. These parameters were in-

that, using this method, we can get a picture of the cyclist’s

cluded so insights into the relationship between injury sus-

posture. But there is still too much work to be done to be

ceptibility and kinematics could be obtained. This is because

able to talk about a real prototype. We are looking hard

the latter is substantially influenced by the athlete’s physical

to do so, but there are challenges ahead to achieve a ful-

capacity and his/her motor unit recruitment patterns (mus-

ly-fledged, robust prototype.

cle activity). The relationship between kinematics and injury prevalence has already been demonstrated (“Changes in

When can the product be ready for use or be available

cycling kinematics in terms of exercise intensity and asso-

in the store?

ciation with injury prevalence in amateur road cyclists. A 3D

This is currently quite difficult to estimate. Maybe a few

kinematic motion analysis study using statistical parametric

years.

15


‘ CYCLING WORLD WILL BE EARLY ADOPTERS’ Maarten Gijssel of Kinetic Analysis is developing a smart shirt

Data gathering plays an important role in the sporting world. Maarten Gijssel and his company Kinetic Analysis are going a step further in this innovation. They created a shirt that delivers a huge amount of posture data while bike riding. “We think smart textiles will revolutionise the world of sports”, Gijssel says. “In 2020 our shirt will be ready for large scale production.”

BY IVAN CRABBE Smart textiles are a booming business. Athletes at the Tokyo Olympics will possibly use different products that provide physiological measurements of the human body. The benefits are massive; fewer injuries and a better training schedule, for example. Due to the high production costs and the corresponding high price for the smart sportswear products, the focus of developers and producers is currently on professional athletes and increasingly on the high-end con-

16

‘IN 2020 OUR SHIRT WILL BE READY FOR LARGE SCALE PRODUCTION’

sumer market. Further development of the technology and the introduction of large-scale manufacturing will lead to lower costs and thus pave the way for targeting the broader mass consumer segments in the future.

HUMAN MOTION DATA Physiotherapist and clinical scientist Maarten Gijssel (32) is the founder and owner of Kinetic Analysis, a Dutch company that specialises in human motion data. The company is active in


IN DEPTH sports, healthcare and the vitality sector. In the first five years, Kinetic Analysis has collected large data sets from approximately 25.000 unique individuals. Now the focus is on integrating sensors in textiles in order to get bet-

‘SMART TEXTILES WILL REVOLUTIONISE THE WORLD OF SPORTS’

ter insights for specific populations.

plains. “After studying different sensor

revolutionise the world of sports. The

Based on the measurements, posture

technologies, we fabricated the best

product is now in its test phase, sev-

and physiological measurements of

possible product. Our main concern

eral riders have used it in our lab. It

the body and movements can be

is being innovative, and that’s not an

can provide a poor posture warning

accurately mapped out. Gijssel cur-

easy task. We need a highly skilled

to the cyclist and detect the level of

rently works on a cycling project with

team of various experts to make these

fatigue. Nowadays, shirts like this are

Nano4sports partners such as Ghent

smart textiles a success. We work

forbidden in a race. We expect the

University. Bike fitting is currently a

with our engineers, human move-

UCI (The Union Cycliste Internation-

big trend in cycling. Customers pay

ment scientists, textile experts and IT

ale) will allow them in the future. I

for their bike to be adjusted perfectly,

specialists, as well as external experts.

also had some contacts with people

but after that, there is no continuous

At the moment there is not much

from the rowing world who would

monitoring on the use of the bike.

competition in our niche of delivering

also like a shirt like that. With small

The Kinetic Analysis’s project focuses

highly accurate measurement data of

adjustments, it’s possible to make

on that missing aspect. “We measure

different body parameters. There are

something for rowers, and I think we

the position of the bike rider on the

products on a gadget level, but the

can provide shirts for multiple sports

bike while it is moving using a special

more serious applications are often

in which back problems occur, al-

shirt that contains sensors”, Gijssel ex-

still in their feasibility phase. This is

though that may require more than

because you need expertise in differ-

just one shirt. The potential of smart

ent fields.”

textiles is almost endless, and we

RULES IN CYCLING The shirt is designed for cycling, but Gijssel expects other sports will follow. “We think smart textiles will

are currently developing shirts that measure other vital functions of the human body for different purposes.”

IMPLEMENTATION When could this nanotechnology be implemented? “I think we will be ready for large-scale production next year. And when the cycling teams and clubs decide to buy it, it may be a fast uptake. We are currently negotiating with a few professional cycling teams. Right now, I can’t talk about price, but our main goal is to make it available to the masses. Many people in our society suffer from back problems. This tool could help them and fundamentally reduce the number of back injuries in the world.”

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18


INTRO DUCTION

RUNNING

Running is not only a sport that is practiced by millions at top and recreational level, it is also the basis for countless other sports. Innovations and smart solutions in the field of running can have a huge impact on sport as a whole.

20

Case: Running technique feedback

22

Case: Bladerunner

24

Case: Ultrasound

26

Case: Sprint analysis

28

Case: Fatigue, performance and injury risk

30

Case: Pertex

32

Case: Lower impact running

34

In depth: Sports doctor Ruben De Gendt believes

in the huge potential of nanotechnology

19


STAYING MOTIVATED THROUGH PERSONALIZED FEEDBACK CASE: RUNNING TECHNIQUE FEEDBACK

20

Brief description of the research

enjoying exercise more often. At present, mobile applica-

For recreational runners it is important to remain injury-free.

tions and associated sensors are primarily aimed at improv-

Without injuries, runners remain motivated and will keep

ing performance and the feedback is not personalized.


CASE

What is the objective?

event of the Marathon Eindhoven 2018. The last study was

Imec the Netherlands in cooperation with Fontys School

performed at the fieldlab athletics in Vught to test different

of Sport Studies started a research project to develop a

types of feedback. The prototypes have been shown at the

sensor-based system that is able to give feedback about

Dutch Design Week 2019 in Eindhoven.

running technique on individual level. When did the research take place? Which parties are involved in the research?

The studies were performed over the timeline of the whole

Imec the Netherlands, Fontys School of Sport Studies,

project, starting in 2017 and ending in 2019.

fieldlab Atletiek Vught and Eindhoven University of Technology department of Industrial Design.

For which group of athletes is the research intended? Mainly recreational runners.

Where did the research take place? The first study was done with cameras at the Marathon

Is there already a prototype of a possible product?

Eindhoven 2017, to get an idea of the key parameters to

We did our data collection using off-the-shelf sensors (i.e.

measure using the sensor-based system. The second study

Byteflies, LPresearch and Xsens). The algorithms which

took place in the lab, to reduce the number of sensors we

have been developed now run offline, but it would be easy

needed in the field. The third study took place at the 10km

to implement them to run real-time.

‘WITHOUT INJURIES, RUNNERS REMAIN MOTIVATED AND WILL KEEP ENJOYING EXERCISE MORE OFTEN’

When can the product be ready for use or be available in the store? The algorithms developed in this study can be used with off-the-shelf sensors to further develop a personalized feedback method for running technique. This can be used as a starting point for product development. The feedback methods tested have been primarily designed by Fontys and TU/e for research purposes. These need to be further refined and tested in a larger study, before starting product development. If these studies are successful, it is likely that these algorithms and feedback methods will, in a few years, end up in commercial products.

21


‘GAIN MORE INSIGHT INTO THE BLADE’ CASE: BLADERUNNER 2020 Brief description of the research

Where did the research take place?

People who lose a leg and want to participate in sports may

Currently it is taking place at a training group in Eindhoven.

be eligible for a blade – a carbon fibre lower leg designed for running or jumping. However, they may currently be

When did the research take place?

able to get a blade, but trainers and trainees do not fully

Still taking place.

understand what the blade exactly does and how it perFor which group of athletes is the research intended?

forms.

Both amateur and elite athletes, as both have the same What is the objective?

questions and the pool is small.

The objective of Bladerunner 2020 is to gain more insight into the deformation and stiffness of the blade during run-

Is there already a prototype of a possible product?

ning.

Yes that is what we are testing.

Which parties are involved in the research?

When can the product be ready for use or be available

Several parties are involved, including imec, Libra revali-

in the store?

datie, trainers and blade runners.

Hard to say, testing ongoing, the market is so small that even if it does work it may always remain a (nice) prototype.

‘THE BLADERUNNER 2020 PROJECT IS INTENDED FOR BOTH AMATEUR AND ELITE ATHLETES’

22


CASE

A Bladerunner 2020 prototype.

23


PREVENT MUSCLE INJURIES & BETTER MUSCLE REHABILITATION

Outside testing of the ProbeFix Dynamic during the half marathon in Eindhoven.

24


CASE CASE: DYNAMIC ULTRASOUND 4 SPORTS - MUSCLE FUNCTION UNRAVELLED    Brief description of the research It is important to understand the muscle function and mechanical load during sports. This is crucial in order to let sports athletes achieve higher performance, while not rupturing their muscles. Next, it is good to get better understanding of the rehabilitation of muscles after an injury occurred. During this study, an innovative product of Usono will be used named the ProbeFix Dynamic. The

The ProbeFix Dynamic prototype.

ProbeFix Dynamic allows for echo measurements of the muscles during dynamic movement. Eventually this research will lead to better insight of muscle behaviour during sports and rehabilitation process (return to play). What is the objective?

Philips and Usono perform lab test

The goal of the project is to develop a product and software in order to prevent muscle injuries and have better

Which parties are involved in the

understanding of muscle rehabilitation process during

research?

dynamic movement with ultrasound. Ultrasound allows for

Usono B.V. and Eindhoven University of

a non-invasive way to monitor muscles in real time during

Technology

exercise; instead of before or after in an artificial clinical setting. This increases the accuracy and comprehensive

Where did the research take place?

nature of the research and data collection, as well as the

In the lab and outside.

user comfort for athletes and doctors.

‘THE PROBEFIX DYNAMIC ALLOWS FOR ECHO MEASUREMENTS OF THE MUSCLES DURING DYNAMIC MOVEMENT’

When did the research take place? From January 25 2019 untill November 30 2019. For which group of athletes is the research intended? Athletes competing in top sports and athletes who are in a rehabilitation process. Is there already a prototype of a possible product? Yes, there is already a prototype. When can the product be ready for use or be available in the store? ProbeFix Dynamic is already being offered to research institutions. So it’s already available. The final product including detection of muscle rupture will only be on the market after 2022.

25


IMPROVING SPRINTING SKILLS CASE: SPRINT ANALYSIS

26

Brief description of the research

imal power output a player’s neuromuscular system can

Sprinting plays an important role in many different sports,

generate (Pmax). This maximal power output is determined

including field hockey and soccer. Improving sprinting

by the theoretical maximal horizontal force production (F0)

skills has become a crucial issue in field hockey training.

and the theoretical maximal running velocity (v0). Based on

To enable the development of more targeted training

this, force-velocity profiles are created to identify the play-

programs and improve sprint performance, a clear insight

er’s strength and weaknesses, which are used to optimize

in which parameters determine sprint performance [1]

individuals’ training protocols. In this study we investigated

and how these parameters evolved during the season is

the potential differences in force-velocity (Fv) profiles in

needed. Recent investigations demonstrated that a major

both male and female soccer players of different playing

determinant parameter of sprint performance is the max-

levels. 163 soccer players (63 women and 100 men) com-


CASE

peting from the Regional to the National Belgian league were recruited. The participants performed two maximal 60-m sprints monitored via a 312 Hz laser. For each participant, the theoretical maximal force (F0) and velocity (v0), maximal power (Pmax), maximal ratio of force (RF) and the slope of the Fv profile (Sfv) were computed. This study shows that the determinants of sprint performance increase with soccer playing level in both men and women, but that the contribution of each variable varies with sex.

‘THE STUDY SHOWS THAT THE DETERMINANTS OF SPRINT PERFORMANCE INCREASE WITH SOCCER PLAYING LEVEL IN BOTH MEN AND WOMEN’

We also investigate changes in the sprint performance of the Belgian National Field Hockey team during the season leading up to the World Cup. We found a significant increase in maximal velocity and maximal power but not in horizontal force production. What is the objective? The aim of this study was to gain more insight in sprint performance of individual players (hockey and soccer). Which parties are involved in the research? FaBeR and imec were involved. Where did the research take place? In the field lab, indoor athletic hall and at soccer clubs. When did the research take place? Several measurements between 2017 – 2019. For which group of athletes is the research intended? For the national hockey team as well as more recreational athletes. Is there already a prototype of a possible product? An improved measurement method was developped including laser and video. Synchronasation with the IMU was not accurate enough to include in the system.

27


FATIGUE, PERFORMANCE AND INJURY RISK CASE: MEASURING FATIGUE AND POTENTIAL PERFORMANCE AND INJURY RELATED PARAMETER DURING A 12 MINUTE ALL OUT TEST Brief description of the research There exists contradicting information about most biomechanical parameters as predictors for running related injuries and/or performance. Parameters related to dynamic loading and dynamic stability have been linked with fatigue as well as performance during a run (1). In addition, these parameters change differently in runners with a history of Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome compared to controls (2). The aim of the current study was to prospectively investigate the association between biomechanical variables and performance, running fatigue, and running related injury risk. What is the objective? The aim of this study was to gain more insight in which parameter based on 3D trunk based accelerometers can be used to determine performance and injury risk during an exhaustive run.

‘THERE EXISTS CONTRADICTING INFORMATION ABOUT MOST BIOMECHANICAL PARAMETERS AS PREDICTORS FOR RUNNING RELATED INJURIES AND/OR PERFORMANCE’

Which parties are involved in the research? FaBeR, imec and computer science were involved.

Where did the research take place? In the field lab and at an outdoor athletic track. When did the research take place? Several measurements between 2017 – 2019. For which group of athletes is the research intended? Recreational runners.

28


CASE

29


PERFORMANCE METRICSÂ FROM A SMART SHIRT CASE: PERFORMANCE TEXTILES (PERTEX)

30


CASE Brief description of the research Developing a new wearable for performance tracking and validating the sensor in practice. What is the objective? The aim of this project is to develop a product that is used

‘MARKET RELEASE IS PLANNED FOR DECEMBER 2019’

for taking performance measurements such as sprint and jump tests. At present, such tests require mainly the use of multiple measurement techniques such as jump platforms and laser gates. Multiple measurement techniques are combined by obtaining these performance metrics from a smart shirt. In addition to registering the test values such as a reaction time or jump height, this shirt can also look at the quality of the movement during execution. By extracting biomechanical parameters from the shirt, movement technique can be mapped and, for example, when fatigue (applicable in a later phase of the project) occurs during a performance measurement. Mapping exercise technique

Which parties are involved in the research?

is interesting for every branch of sport because of the rela-

Kinetic Analysis B.V., FaBeR.

tionship with the performance outcome and/or a possible risk of getting injuries.

Where did the research take place? Development in Kinetic Analysis premisses and field testing at KU Leuven. When did the research take place? From February 2018 – February 2019. For which group of athletes is the research intended? Affordable final sensor aims to target grass root sports market. Is there already a prototype of a possible product? MVP was finalized by August 2019. When can the product be ready for use or be available in the store? Webshop: market release is planned for December 2019.

31


MUSIC BASED BIOFEEDBACK FOR

SHOCK REDUCTION CASE: LOWER IMPACT RUNNING Brief description of the research

Live feedback at running speed is given because prop-

Running is popular, but many distance runners develop inju-

er retraining occurs without speed changes. A 30 per-

ries. Retraining running technique may help in the reduction

cent reduction in impact shock has been achieved by high

and management of injuries. Retraining running technique

impact runners running at a common running speed.

has been done on treadmills using biofeedback to measure

32

impact shock. To get out of the lab and clinics, we devel-

What is the objective?

oped a wearable tool that provides music-based feedback

Running is popular and good for health. Unfortunately

to measure a runner’s impact shock. The shocks impacting

many distance runners develop injuries. Retraining your

the lower leg are immediately and reliably captured by this

running technique based on personalized feedback may

system*. You can explore your own lower impact running

help in the reduction and management of injuries. Retrain-

technique by activating the music-based biofeedback.

ing running technique has been done on treadmills using


CASE ‘A 30 PERCENT REDUCTION IN IMPACT SHOCK HAS BEEN ACHIEVED BY HIGH IMPACT RUNNERS RUNNING AT A COMMON RUNNING SPEED’ Schematic representation of the biofeedback system’s components for realtime, music-based biofeedback on impact shock.

biofeedback to measure impact shock, one of the identified

that uses radio technology and transmits accurate speed

risk factors. To get out of the lab and clinics, we developed

feedback that is compatible with the tool for running mon-

a wearable tool that provides music-based biofeedback to

itoring/retraining.

measure a runner’s impact shock. The shocks impacting the lower leg are immediately and reliably captured by

When did the research take place?

this system*. As such you can explore and alter your own

2017 – 2019.

running technique and lower impact by activating the music-based biofeedback. Live feedback at running speed

For which group of athletes is the research intended?

is given because proper retraining occurs without speed

Monitoring of impact loading may be useful for everyone,

changes. A 30 percent reduction in impact shock has been

from new runners to those competing at the highest level.

achieved by high impact runners at a common running

The biofeedback tool is particularly of interest for distance

speed.

runners experiencing high impact loading. The indoor localisation system is a cornerstone of a training facility

Which parties are involved in the research?

permitting over-ground retraining.

The research units of imec and UGent (Biomechanics and Motor Control of Human Movement, the Institute for Psy-

Is there already a prototype of a possible product?

choacoustics and Electronic Music, the Internet Technolo-

The research-grade biofeedback system consists of smart

gy and Data Science Lab, and the Centre for Microsystems

clothing and a lightweight trail backpack. The runner wears

Technology) collaborated to build cutting-edge systems

a miniaturised sensor embedded in a leg compression

for sportspeople. The research foundation-Flanders funded

sleeve, a processing unit on their back, and earphones.

the research on retraining running technique. Victoris and TechTransfer assist in its commercial valorisation.

When can the product be ready for use or be available in the store?

Where did the research take place?

Leading businesses and organizations are invited to

The shock level of more than 100 runners was screened.

contact Prof. dr. Veerle Segers (veerle.segers@ugent.be)

The training track at the Flanders Sports Arena acted as a

and Victoris (kristof.demey@ugent.be) for commercial

lab-in-the-field. It was set up with a positioning system

valorisation.

33


‘PERFORMANCES OF ATHLETES WILL GET A MASSIVE BOOST’ Sports doctor Ruben De Gendt believes in the huge potential of nanotechnology Nanotechnology will change the world of sports. It is a great tool that can generate accurate training methods and provide high-quality injury prevention. Sports doctor Ruben De Gendt is also positive. “Many sports can benefit from the technology. Technical sports like rowing could be the first to use these nanosensors.” BY IVAN CRABBE

34

Running is a crucial aspect of many

The 32-year-old Belgian was a

collaborate with the Flemish rowing

sports. Is a forty-metre sprint better

successful lightweight rower. He

federation and the AA Gent and Zulte

than a twenty-metre sprint during

participated at all international cham-

Waregem football teams for their

training? Nowadays, coaches can’t

pionships except the Olympics and

medical testing.”

work out which running methods are

was Belgian champion more than

the best for athletes. In the future,

twenty times. In 2010, De Gendt end-

INJURY PREVENTION

using microsensors and a compact

ed his rowing career and focused on

Sports doctor De Gendt thinks that

laser, the performance of athletes

his medical studies. Four years later

nanotechnology would improve his

can be measured in their natural

he opened his practice, close to the

diagnoses massively. He strongly

environment and analysed later. But

water sports course in Ghent. He also

believes in the technology. “Most of

to move beyond the lab to the out-

works part-time at the UZ hospital

the applications that contain nano-

side world, engineers and computer

in Ghent. “Sports have always been

technology are still in a development

scientists are needed. What is the

my passion and I am delighted they

phase. We will have to wait a few

impact such technology can have on

are staying in my life now I work as a

years before they are operational.

sports? We asked sports doctor, Ru-

doctor”, De Gendt states. “I need to

A sports doctor can analyse a large

ben De Gendt.

be active, so after I ended my rowing

amount of data with nanosensors,

career I switched to triathlon, but it’s

and he can do this outside the hospi-

more of a hobby. As a doctor, I also

tal where an athlete is practising. This


IN DEPTH

can be very useful for prevention and

sport. After carrying out a few meas-

hunger at the World Cycling Champi-

treatment. For example, injuries and

urements, the perfect posture could

onships and was unable to maintain a

bad posture can be detected quickly,

be determined. For the technique of

decent rhythm, should be minimised

and the proper remedy can be put in

rowing, the movements have to be

with the use of nanotechnology. If this

place immediately. If the technology

analysed. Having trousers and a shirt

technology is allowed by the sports

is reliable in the future, I would cer-

full of sensors is a possible application

federations, the richest teams and

tainly use it in my practice.”

for rowing. Nanotechnology could

athletes will use it first. This will create

also be used in extreme weather con-

a new inequality. For example, ketones

ditions and massively boost the per-

are performance-enhanced medi-

The new nanotechnology is still very

formance of an athlete. For example,

cines but are very expensive. Only the

expensive. De Gendt expects elite

during an Ironman in Hawaii, triath-

top teams in the cycling peloton can

athletes will be the first to adopt it.

letes are pushed to the limit. Smart

afford them. With new technological

“It will take a while before large scale

sensors could measure salt loss, sweat

tools, the same thing will happen; the

production starts. I think everybody

loss, body temperature and heart

gap will only get bigger.”

can benefit from it, but professional

rhythm. The athlete will have a better

athletes will be the first. The sensors

idea about when to drink or eat and/or

PUSHED BOUNDARIES

could be used in rowing for track-

when there is a potential problem. Sit-

But apart from this issue, De Gendt

ing the athlete accurately because

uations, such as that with Mathieu van

thinks technology will have a positive

technique is very important in that

der Poel, who suffered from severe

effect on sports. “I believe in techno-

NEW INEQUALITY

‘A SPORTS DOCTOR CAN ANALYSE A LARGE AMOUNT OF DATA WITH NANOSENSORS’

logical evolution. Many problems in medicine can be solved with technology. And it has also changed the world of sports enormously. Every year the boundaries are pushed. Athletes are becoming stronger and faster. World records don’t last long anymore. Technology is taking over, and we don’t know when it will end.”

35


36


INTRO DUCTION

REHABILITATION Smart apps, inventive measurement systems, new applications or modern medical instruments can help prevent injuries and contribute to rehabilitation as quickly and efficiently as possible if an injury does occur. A great opportunity for nanotechnology! 38 40 42 43

Case: 24/7 monitoring of team sports athletes Case: Fitbox2Go 2.0 Case: Smart brace In depth: Back in motion just in time

37


MONITORING RECOVERY OF TEAM SPORTS ATHLETES CASE: 24/7 MONITORING OF TEAM SPORT ATHLETES Brief description of the research

After training the body should go into recovery mode,

In (semi-)professional team sports, training load is largely

which is regulated by the autonomous nervous system.

determined using heart rate sensors, GPS data and some-

Within the project Nano4Sports, imec developed a smart

times even accelerometers. However, to get a complete

watch (CHILL+) which measures the response of the au-

profile of the training load on the athletes, the recovery

tonomous nervous system. We conducted studies with

process is crucial. One player might recover in a very differ-

semi-professional team sports athletes to study the individ-

ent way, compared to his or her teammates.

ual differences in recovery.

Smart watch imec to measure autonomous nervous system reponse.

38


CASE What is the objective? This study is a start to determine how we can monitor recovery of team sports athletes using a wearable sensor outside the training. However, monitoring of recovery is not straight forward and will require further personalization of algorithms. Which parties are involved in the research? Imec and field lab PSV. Where did the research take place? We have measured semi-professional rowers with the smartwatch and a custom-made mobile application for 7 days in a row, day and night. Within these 7 days they did 7 training sessions and 2 days of races. When did the research take place? The development and tests of the smartwatch was done in the period 2017 - begin 2019. The custom-made app was developed in spring 2019. The data was collected in summer of 2019. The data is analysed at the moment. For which group of athletes is the research intended? The 24/7 monitoring case is directed at team sports on a

Custom-made mobile application for data collection.

(semi-)professional level. In team sports, there is a large variety in individual profiles, but they must adhere to the

Is there already a prototype of a possible product?

same training moments and races. This makes it particularly

The smartwatch was developed by imec as a prototype to

interesting to study this group.

conduct long term measurements in the field. The prototype is used to collect data, and algorithms are further developed to analyse this data. When can the product be ready for use or be available in the store? This study is just a beginning to determine the possibilities of monitoring athletes with a wearable device. A larger study in multiple team sports is required to further develop the algorithms and methods for personalization of these algorithms. The CHILL+ watch is a prototype device developed for use in these types of scientific studies. The industrial partners of imec use our research results as starting point for their own product development. If our studies are successful, it is likely that certain technology and techniques developed during Nano4Sports will, in a few years,

In the field measurement with rower.

end up in commercial products.

39


TRAINING FOR PEOPLE WHO HAVE DIFFICULTY STANDING AND WALKING CASE: FITBOX2GO 2.0 Brief description of the research Between June 2018 and February 2019, the Ir. Otten Fieldlab Aangepast Sporten (part of Libra Rehabilitation & Audiology, also Sport Innovator centre) worked closely together with physiotherapists and potential end users to design and develop a unique prototype wooden training device, as well as an associated training schedule in the form of an app. The purpose of the product, called the Fitbox2Go, is to allow people who have difficulty standing and walking (such as the elderly and people with a physical disability) to safely and reliably train for (muscle) strength and stamina, using a special exercise schedule. What makes this product unique is not only the fact that it can be used for five different exercises, but also that no similar device yet exists for the

A senior woman training with the Fitbox2Go, under guidance of a physiotherapist.

intended target group. An evaluation study showed that the Fitbox2Go has been

What is the objective?

well-received and that the application of sensor technolo-

The ultimate objective is to develop a Fitbox2Go2.0: A

gy can be used to increase ease of use, training enthusiasm

Fitbox2Go equipped with sensor technology supplying

and performance.

the user and the support user (e.g. physiotherapist) with

To this end, a project was initiated in collaboration with

relevant digital information, in real-time or otherwise, while

Fontys Hogescholen (Fontys Engineering) as well as with

using the training device. This data is then stored, pro-

imec to equip the Fitbox2Go with sensors and data pro-

cessed and fed back to the user and their supervisor(s) as

cessing software.

a performance overview and as advice (for example, on a dashboard). Which parties are involved in the research? Libra - the Ir. Otten Fieldlab voor Aangepast Sporten (FAS, Sport Innovator Centre); Fontys - Hogescholen, Fontys Engineering (Mechatronics); Stichting imec Nederland.

40


CASE

Where did the research take place?

more and even start exercising. Secondly, the product is

The sensor development and its subsequent installation

also suitable for people who already exercise regularly, and

into the Fitbox2Go mainly took place at Fontys Engineer-

who can use the Fitbox2Go to maintain and even increase

ing, in the Mechatronics department and ir. Otten Fieldlab

their muscle strength and stamina.

Aangepast sporten. Is there already a prototype of a possible product? When did the research take place?

The Fitbox2Go as a training device, but without sensors, is

The preparatory works were completed in the last quarter

already available. In the present project, sensor modules

of 2018, and the creation/installation activities of the de-

have been developed for the dumbbell (monitoring move-

veloped sensor technology were carried out in the first half

ments) and in the frame (load measurement). These mod-

of 2019.

ules still need to be further developed when it comes to the display of the signals and the connection with the app.

For which group of athletes is the research intended? The final product is initially intended for people who have

When can the product be ready for use or be available

reduced leg function (such as the elderly and people with

in the store?

neurological disorders) and who have been stimulated to

Further development of the technology is foreseen, includ-

increase their muscle strength so they can (start to) move

ing its evaluation, until the end of 2020.

‘THE FINAL PRODUCT IS INITIALLY INTENDED FOR PEOPLE WHO HAVE REDUCED LEG FUNCTION, SUCH AS THE ELDERLY AND PEOPLE WITH NEUROLOGICAL DISORDERS’ 41


‘PERFORMANCES OF ATHLETES WILL GET A MASSIVE BOOST BY

NANOTECHNOLOGY’ SPORTS DOCTOR RUBEN DE GENDT


CASE

A SMART BRACE TO ‘REPLACE’ THE PHYSIO CASE: SMART BRACE Brief description of the research

For which group of athletes is the research intended?

Lots of people, young and old, suffer from (severe) ankle

Any sports will do, but for now they will need an ankle

injuries every year. Some go to the physiotherapist, but

injury to participate.

many do not and may walk around with the injury for a while. A brace can help, but it does not currently tell you

Is there already a prototype of a possible product?

how well rehabilitation is progressing, nor does it tell you

There is a prototype.

when to stop using the brace. A smart brace can help ‘replace’ the physiotherapist and help the injured at home

When can the product be ready for use or be available

during rehab.

in the store? Still to be determined, but in about 5 years.

What is the objective? The goal is to test a prototype ankle brace containing sensors, and to determine if it is possible to measure similar parameters as the physiotherapist would by using a brace. Which parties are involved in the research? Imec, Nea International, PECE-zorg. Where did the research take place? At the physiotherapist. When did the research take place? Still running.

43


BACK IN MOTION JUST IN TIME How a smart brace can be an extension of a physiotherapist

Most amateur athletes who sprain their ankle often cannot wait to get active again. But how can you know when the ankle was sufficiently recovered? Nea International’s smart brace may be able to give the answer in the future. BY MARK VAN DER HEIJDEN Nea International produces braces

an injury come together. “We see this

under the brand name Push: from

as a research project, to see what we

the wrist and knee to the back and

can do with it.”

neck. “If I may be so immodest”,

“There are two types of people. Some

starts Annette Voskuilen, R&D man-

people start moving again too quick-

ager at Nea International, “our braces

ly, others don’t start moving quickly

achieve good functionality. We de-

enough at a time when the musculo-

velop them ourselves, look for the

skeletal system would benefit. When is

right materials ourselves, and take

the right time to get moving again? An

care of all the production ourselves.”

athlete has a whole team around him. Recreational athletes don’t have that.

It is her responsibility to develop new

The question is whether we can guide

products. “We stay in touch with

them by measuring how far along they

doctors and track developments

are in their recovery and thus predict

in the field of materials. We look

what the next step might be.”

particularly at sports and outdoor.

44

And there is an international trend

TWO TYPES OF PEOPLE

Voskuilen sees two applications. “The

for braces to increasingly become

She says she’s always looking for

smart brace can be an extension of

a product for the end-user, with no

ways to look at things from a new

a physiotherapist. He only sees his

reimbursement from a health insur-

perspective, but a smart brace for

patients once a week. With this brace,

ance company. End-users who pay

the ankle goes a step further. This is

the patient can receive more support

for the braces themselves makes

where the rise of sensors, the wear-

from the physiotherapist. In addition,

different demands.”

ing of braces on the skin, and the fact

it can also be seen as a support ob-

that people often don’t know when

ject for the patient. Many ankle inju-

they can return to being active after

ries are recidivism injuries. If someone


IN DEPTH

has sprained their ankle before, they already know what is wrong.”

PROTOTYPE

tified or allowed. We can carry out measurements with the brace while

This project started by holding a

the patient is with the physiothera-

workshop for doctors and athletes to

pist. And we can test this with what

find out what information they would

the physiotherapist can actually see

like to get from the smart brace.

in order to check whether the brace

Then Nea International and imec

is actually providing the information

worked together to look at what was

we had thought of beforehand.”

technically possible. “Some sensors

‘SOME PEOPLE START MOVING AGAIN TOO QUICKLY, OTHERS DON’T START MOVING QUICKLY ENOUGH’ user. Partners of Nano4Sports will also be involved in this.”

are built into the brace: motion

This prototype would never have

sensors, pressure sensors and tem-

been possible without Nano4Sports,

“The third workshop relates to the

perature sensors. And we can ask for

Voskuilen says. “Nano4Sports has

business case. Will the smart brace

things like pain, discolouration and

brought the parties together. Imec

become a tool in the medical circuit?

swelling via an app.”

makes the sensors for the brace. We

And if so, how are we going to offer

came into contact with Paul Maas

it? Will it be a product that the con-

By combining this information, it

of PECE Zorg, a physiotherapist in

sumer will buy, or will it be provided

is possible to let the athlete know

Eindhoven, through the Nano4Sports

by a health insurance company? We

when he or she can begin to use his

network.”

also want to look at this with partners

of her ankle again. “During recovery,

of Nano4Sports.”

the ankle becomes thinner, less stiff

BUSINESS CASE

and the patient is able to walk better.

The contribution of Nano4Sports

She particularly praises the contribu-

Based on this, we hope to be able to

does not stop there. “It is the inten-

tion of imec. “For me, the knowledge

say: you can start training again. This

tion to organise two more work-

imec brings to the table is the result

is useful advice that will help people

shops. The first workshop will focus

of this project. This project was cre-

recover better.”

on feedback. The sensors provide us

ated thanks to this collaboration. As

with different measurement data. The

an SME, we benefit from it. The fact

A prototype is now ready and will

question now is, of what use will this

that Nano4sports had a structure

soon be tested by a physiotherapist.

be to the user. In a certain way, we

where these aspects can be inves-

“At the moment, giving this this new

have to convert the measurements

tigated has a lot of added value. We

product to a patient is not yet jus-

into information that is useful to the

learn a lot from that.”

45


46


INTRO DUCTION

MOTIVATION & FEEDBACK How do we encourage people to exercise? And how do we ensure that they keep exercising? That is where nanotechnology can play a role.

48

Case: Support and engage women to go running

50

Case: Sonification

52

Case: Perform under pressure

54

Case: Engage people through data

56

Case: Prevent dropout

58

In depth: ‘People tend to be more active when they are

encouraged’

47


‘SUPPORT AND ENGAGE WOMEN TO GO RUNNING’ CASE: DESIGNING TO ENGAGE AND SUPPORT FEMALE RUNNERS Brief description of the research

running, when they are in doubt of going. First we designed

Running is a popular recreational sport due to its low

Faye, a running shirt that reveals a motivational quote in

threshold to start. Yet it has a high drop-out rate due to

the warm-up phase of the run. To share running inten-

motivational loss among novice runners, in which female

tions among friends and be able to cheer for each other,

runners have a large share. Although there are many mon-

we designed the bracelet Grace. When having an inner

itoring devices that aim to motivate runners, these often

dialogue of ‘should I stay or should I go’, Raya, a tangible

focus on the training itself and not on demotivation experi-

sports buddy, can guide you. Finally, to remind you of your

enced before the run. In this case, we designed four differ-

intentions, we designed Iris, a clothing hanger that reminds

ent artifacts that aim to support and engage women to go

you it is time to get dressed for sporting.

FAYE COULD BE AVAILABLE VERY SOON

Faye

48


CASE Iris

Grace

What is the objective? With these designs, we aim to support and engage women to go running, and gain more knowledge on how to prevent a potential drop-out due to motivational loss. Which parties are involved in the research? Eindhoven University of Technology, Fontys University of Applied Sciences, KU Leuven. Where did the research take place? Faye was tested during the Ladiesrun Eindhoven 2018. Grace, Raya and Iris were tested in-context, in the homes of the participants. When did the research take place? The research was ongoing from May 2017 till now, where we iterated upon several designs. For which group of athletes is the research intended? Recreational female runners Is there already a prototype of a possible product? We developed four designs within this research: Faye, Grace, Raya and Iris. When can the product be ready for use or be available in the store?

Raya

This is hard to indicate, however, Faye could be available very soon.

49


HELP RUNNERS TO IMPROVE THEIR RUNNING STYLE CASE: MUSIC ENABLED RUNNING Brief description of the research

What is the objective?

This is an exploration of a feedback/feedforward loop that

The goal is to influence running technique in a controlled

helps runners to improve their running style. We built an

direction. Possible reasons are the reduction of impact

open system allowing the use of a range of sensors. We

while running or improvement of technique.

developed machine learning algorithms that are trained with available running data. We are currently able to ana-

Which parties are involved in the research?

lyze running patterns. We explored the influence of music

Fontys University of Applied Sciences, ISA bewegingsanalyse.

on the running patterns, and it becomes possible to steer individual running technique into a controlled direction by

Where did the research take place?

exposing the runner to music with the appropriate musical

Most of the development and testing has been done under

parameters.

controlled lab conditions, also field tests have been done with a mobile version of the platform.

50


CASE

When did the research take place? Throughout 2018 and 2019. For which group of athletes is the research intended? The primary focus is on amateur runners. Is there already a prototype of a possible product? Two prototype systems have been developed: a lab setup with a tread mill, sound and video setup and a wearable implementation using a smart phone as a sensor hub. When can the product be ready for use or be available in the store? As a research platform it can be made available to a larger

‘THE GOAL IS TO INFLUENCE RUNNING TECHNIQUE IN A CONTROLLED DIRECTION’

user group within a few months. For use as a consumer platform the music feedforward/feedback loop needs further development. We estimate that for a commercial service a year of development is needed by a suitable party.

51


CHOKE OR SHINE? CASE: CHOKE OR SHINE? QUANTIFYING SOCCER PLAYERS’ ABILITIES TO PERFORM UNDER MENTAL PRESSURE Brief description of the research

What is the objective?

Increasing amounts of data are collected during football

Our work is a first step towards objectively understanding

matches to help clubs answer the multitude of questions

how high-mental pressure situations affect the perfor-

they are faced with every day. While most existing soccer

mances and behaviour of football players. The developed

performance metrics defined on top of this data focus on a

metrics can help clubs, managers and coaches in address-

player’s technical and physical performances, they typically

ing the following key questions:

ignore the mental pressure under which these performances

• Player acquisition​​: Does a player perform well under

were delivered. Yet, mental pressure is a recurrent concept in the analysis of a player’s or a team’s performance. We used

pressure? • Training​​: What are a player’s recurring poor decisions in

machine learning to develop a metric that quantifies how

certain tense circumstances, such that they can be ad-

mental pressure affects the performance of football players.

dressed during training?

Neymar’s performance crumbles under pressure.

52


CASE ‘THE DEVELOPED METRICS CAN HELP CLUBS, MANAGERS AND COACHES IN PLAYER ACQUISITION, TRAINING, TACTICAL GUIDELINES, LINE-UPS AND SUBSTITUTIONS’ Tactical guidelines​​: What tactical plans are more likely to

For which group of athletes is the research intended?

succeed in high-pressure situations?

Professional football players

• Line-ups and substitutions​​: Which players should a man-

Is there already a prototype of a possible product?

ager line up in anticipation of a crucial game, or substi-

We implemented a prototype and used it to analyse data

tute when a game gets tense?

from 6,858 matches from 7 leagues. The results were presented at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference (SSAC

Which parties are involved in the research?

2019), which is the premier conference on sports analytics.

DTAI (Prof. Jesse Davis, Pieter Robberechts) and the Dutch football analytics company SciSports.

When can the product be ready for use or be available in the store?

Where did the research take place?

SciSports has plans to integrate the metrics into their In-

In the lab, on a computer.

sight platform. With this platform, SciSports supports its clients in the recruitment of players by quantifying the

When did the research take place?

quality and potential of all professional football players

May 2018 – March 2019.

around the world. However, concrete timing has not yet been determined.

53


ENGAGE PEOPLE ABOUT SPORTS THROUGH DATA-IN-PLACE CASE: CONTEXTUAL SPORTS FEEDBACK: ENGAGING PEOPLE ABOUT SPORTS DATA THROUGH HYPERCONTEXTUAL FEEDBACK Brief description of the research? Our research explores how sports-related data can be shown in public contexts. Most sports feedback systems such as smart watches and smartphone apps are used in private and individual contexts. We believe that when sports performance data is consumed in shared, public space, sportspeople can make sense of this data in participative ways, engage in different types of social interaction, and perhaps nudge passers-by to engage with sport. We thus designed, developed and evaluated six working prototypes: 1. Parallel Runners invites sportspeople to collaboratively compare their live performance statistics at large sports events. 2. Chrono Displays playfully nudge passers-by to engage in sport by recording the time it takes between two locations along a route. 3. Runner Counter allows sportspeople to publicly record the type of their physical activity they engage in. 4. WeWatt Physicalisation invites users of the WeWatt smartphone-charging bicycles to socially interact with each other in order to synchronise their peddling. 5. Traject Yourself invites casual passers-by to actively dis-

What is the objective? To understand the true impact and potential of publicly

cover and interact with five interactive displays that are

providing sports feedback to multiple people and at the

hidden in an urban neighbourhood.

location where the sports activity took place.

6. Situated Sports Stories conveys a set of interactive data visualisations about the running statistics (e.g. Strava

Which parties are involved in the research?

data) of a specific location.

We collaborated with several timekeeping companies that track sportspeople at sports events. For our Physicalisation prototype, we collaborated with WeWatt, a Flemish manufacturer of public cycling furniture that generate energy to charge mobile phones.

54


CASE ‘ENCOUNTERING SPORTS DATA IN PUBLIC SPACE CAN LEAD TO DIFFERENT INSIGHTS AND SOCIAL INTERACTIONS’ Where did the research take place? We tested our prototypes in diverse real-world situations, such as at running events in Flanders and at the widely used public sports facilities of our university. When did the research take place? Following a user-centred research methodology, we iteratively finetuned our designs, from low-fidelity mock-ups to working prototypes, which were then deployed at different situations during the duration of the project. For which group of athletes is the research intended? Our intended users range from casual passers-by who might appreciate that sports activities have happened, to casual sportspeople who might be interested in socially interacting with each other, to recreational sportspeople who want useful insights about their sports performance. Is there already a prototype of a possible product? Following a design-oriented research methodology, we fabricated, programmed and assembled physical prototypes from concept to realisation. This process is crucial in order to derive fundamental knowledge that can only be attained if design thinking forms a vital part of the research process. When can the product be ready for use or be available in the store? Several prototypes have shown great potential for further development and commercialisation, but we have not put forward a concrete plan to achieve this yet.

55


PREVENT DROPOUT THROUGH TAILORED INTERVENTIONS CASE: MOTIVATION IN MOTION Brief description of the research

Where did the research take place?

Ready2improve supports people in improving their person-

The first part of the research took place in the lab, where

al health. Our service started merely face-2-face. Nowa-

our dataset was analysed. Next, the profiling system will

days much has been digitised. Since we aim for a sustain-

be evaluated via a field study. Every year, Ready2improve

able behaviour change, it is crucial that a person is and

organises ‘The Fittest Company’ (www.fitstebedrijf.com), a

stays motivated. This is not an easy task. Especially within

competition between companies who strive to make the

a merely digitised trajectory. Our aim is to extend our

most progress in improving their fitness. All contestants use

coaching platform with a profiling system that can measure

our coaching platform. A perfect opportunity to evaluate

motivation, create a motivational profile for each user, and

the prototype.

automatically select and tailor interventions (based on the motivational profile).

When did the research take place? The first part of the project took place in summer 2019.

What is the objective?

The evaluation of the profiling system is planned during the

The aim of this project is to learn the effect of tailored

2020 edition of ‘The Fittest Company’, since we did not fin-

interventions (designed to encourage people to be more

ish the research on time to test during the edition this year.

active) on different motivational profiles. And to identify dropout predictors that will enable us to prevent dropout

For which group of athletes is the research intended?

by activating interventions when needed.

Ready2improve supports recreational sportspeople and, more generally, people who want to improve their personal

More specific:

health and are willing to follow a health trajectory to ac-

1. Establishment of a baseline for the profiling types and

complish that.

identification of dropout predictors. We have a large dataset available for data-analysis.

Is there already a prototype of a possible product?

2. Building a prototype of the profiling system.

A prototype of the profiling system is built as an extension

3. Evaluation of the prototype via a field study. We will focus

of our current coaching platform.

on automated feedback which will be tailored (content and language) to the motivational profile. In the long term,

When can the product be ready for use or be available

other interventions and tailoring methods will be added.

in the store? We are currently implementing parts of the profiling sys-

Which parties are involved in the case/ research?

tem, which will be available for our users. The starting point

Ready2improve, KULeuven, imec, imec Nederland, Fontys

of a continuous learning and development process.

Hogescholen and Eindhoven University of Technology.

56


CASE ‘WE ARE CURRENTLY IMPLEMENTING PARTS OF THE PROFILING SYSTEM’

57


‘NANOTECHNOLOGY WILL NOT INCREASE SPORTS PARTICIPATION’ Cindy Winters (director of sport for the city of Leuven) does not expect a revolution

Technological innovations will change sports enormously in the future. And microsensors and data could be available for the masses. They will allow us to exercise better, safer and more over a lifetime. But could they lead to increased participation in sport? “I don’t think so”, says Cindy Winters, director of sports for the city of Leuven. “The social aspect stays important. Elite athletes will benefit more from this new nanotechnology.” BY IVAN CRABBE Enjoying participating in sport is important for people’s health. Nanotechnology will play a crucial role as a provider of information and feedback in the quest for a healthier society. These smart sensors are still in a test phase. The ultimate goal for the scientists involved in the project, is athletes using the feedback from

‘PEOPLE TEND TO BE MORE ACTIVE WHEN THEY ARE ENCOURAGED’

the data to create the perfect sport

58

a guest lecturer for sports management at the UCLL. Four years ago, Winters was appointed president of ISB (Institute for Sport Management and Recreation Policy), a membership association and knowledge centre, responsible for the management of sport, physical activity and recreation at a local and regional level in Flanders.

behaviour and to apply it over a long

Winters has a Master’s Degree in

“Our goal in Leuven is to motivate

period of time. What’s the added

physical education and physiothera-

everybody to participate in sports”,

value of nanotechnology in sports?

py. She worked at the sports depart-

says Winters, already working as the

We asked Cindy Winters, director of

ment of the city of Zaventem for ten

director of sports in Leuven for sev-

sports for the city of Leuven.

years. In 2011, she started working as

en years. “We are currently focused


INTRO DUCTION IN DEPTH such an event. “We have already organised some major cycling events in Leuven, the GP Scherens for example. But the trip to Yorkshire allowed us to gain some extra experience. A World Championship is an incredible platform. It would be great if we could present our newest nanotechnology there. For example, by using sensors and letting the fans in the fan zone experience how a cyclist reacts in a bike race. You can experience Cindy Winters, director of sport for the city of Leuven.

what a football player feels in a football stadium. So why not do the same for cycling soon?”

on running, cycling and walking.

saw that people tend to be more

PROFESSIONAL USES

And we will soon include swimming

active when they are encouraged.

For professional sports, it’s anoth-

and carry out some measurements

I do not believe this will change in

er story. Training, preparation and

with sensors in the pool of Wilsele.

the future. Sensors are a good tool

competition-related activities can

The goal is to install technology

for sport-minded people, but to

be improved gradually with sensors.

that measures how fast a swimmer

reach the masses you need more

Top athletes need this as they strive

completes a lap. In the near future,

social intervention. Competitions and

for success. “Nanotechnology can be

we also want to test what effect

events in neighbourhoods are vital to

highly profitable for them”, Winters

sports and movements have on the

increasing sports participation. Sports

agrees. “In Leuven, we conducted a

human body; hopefully, we can do

clubs, cities and governments still

hockey project in collaboration with

that with nanotechnology. We are

need to work together and create a

KHC Leuven. Sensors were used to

constantly looking for ways to im-

sport-friendly environment.”

measure the game patterns of the

prove our sports policy. Leuven is a

players. In the future, more athletes

room for more activities. Nanotech-

ORGANISATION OF WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS

nology could be very helpful in gath-

In 2021, Flanders is the organiser of

for sports in Flemish Brabant. There is

ering data and increasing motivation

the World Cycling Championships.

a shift towards technology in sports.

for sports participation. The social

The finish of the road race will be in

We can only benefit from it, but I think

aspect should not be neglected. With

Leuven. Cindy Winters was in York-

it will still take a while before nano-

our ‘Moving Neighbours’ project, we

shire to follow the organisation of

sensors will be commercialised.”

sport-minded city, but there is still

will test some of the new technologies in our SportsTechLab, a living lab

‘SENSORS ARE A GOOD TOOL, BUT TO REACH THE MASSES YOU NEED MORE SOCIAL INTERVENTION’

59


60


INTRO DUCTION

URBAN SPORTS The so-called urban sports are becoming increasingly popular. Skateboarding is even an Olympic sport in Tokyo next year. How can nanotechnology help in the further development of these sports?

62

Case: The impact of freerunning

64

Case: Senskate

66

In depth: 360-degree view on the skateboard

61


‘THE BODY GETS HEAVY STRIKES’ CASE: FREERUNNING IMPACT - MEASURE EXTRAORDINARY LANDING IMPACT

62

Brief description of the research

what are the consequences of the repeated impact on the

Freerunning. A sport where you fearlessly fly countless

occurrence of an injury? Little is known about this new

meters through the air to make that one cool jump. You

sport; however it is known that freerunners benefit from

must not only be mentally on point but also physically.

good landing technique. Working with imec, Urban Sports

Due to the unreal jumps, the body gets heavy strikes. But

Performance Centre started a project to answer these

what is the actual exposure? How large is the impact after

questions. First, information was collected about measuring

a jump of 4 meters, how do we measure the impact, and

impact, and we were advised by the PSV football club. We


CASE ‘THE PREVENTION TOOL CAN REDUCE THE RISK OF INJURY’

first used feet-insoles to measure pressure (impact) and

Which parties are involved in the research?

foot outlet. However, these were insufficient for measuring

Imec NL, Innosportlab Sport & Beweeg (included with Ur-

the high impacts associated with freerunning.

ban Sports Performance Centre).

The next step was to use accelerometers with a high sampling frequency and g-range. These accelerometers are

Where did the research take place?

successful in measuring the landing impact of freerunners!

Lab, outside, practice.

Data showed the first logical results, jumping onto a higher platform gives a lower impact than jumping onto a lower

When did the research take place?

platform; we are now investigating the influence of fatigue

Summer (august) 2018 until July 2019, and now developing

on landing impact and technique.

further until December 2019.

The next step is to give freerunners visual feedback about their landing technique so the product can serve as an

For which group of athletes is the research intended?

injury prevention tool. Freerunners with a poor/lesser land-

Beneral sport and elite sport / recreational and elite sport.

ing technique can use the prevention tool to reduce the risk of injury.  

Is there already a prototype of a possible product? Yes.

What is the objective? Give freerunners insight and knowledge about their landing

When can the product be ready for use?

technique to reduce injuries.

Summer 2020, mainly as a service, not a B2C product.

63


PREPARE FOR THE OLYMPICS! CASE: SENSKATE

64


CASE

Brief description of the research Skating becomes an Olympic sport in 2020; however, technology is not present at all to enhance athletes performance. It is lacking in this with respect to other (Olympic) sports. Adding technology could help improve tricks, determine if they were performed correctly, help train/learn new tricks etc. What is the objective? The goal of this project was to build a first prototype to determine if it could be done, and how it would be received. When did the research take place? Which parties are involved in the research?

About 6-8 months ago.

Imec, USPC, Pier 15. For which group of athletes is the research intended? Where did the research take place?

Skaters young, old, pro, starter

Lab and Pier 15. Is there already a prototype of a possible product? Yes, that was the idea. When can the product be ready for use or be available in the store? Still to be determined, need to have interest from device manufacturers first.

65


360-DEGREE VIEW ON THE SKATEBOARD The smart skateboard SenSkate helps skaters improve their tricks If a difficult trick on a skateboard is too much, a smart skateboard might be able to provide the golden tip. This skateboard, the SenSkate, is now available thanks to the collaboration between the Urban Sports Performance Centre (USPC) and imec, initiated by Nano4Sports. BY MARK VAN DER HEIJDEN “The Urban Sports Performance Centre was created by the province of Brabant to support urban athletes”, says Maxime Verdijk, embedded scientist at USPC. “We are now active in three areas. We provide nutritional advice, we offer circuit training in the park, as well as individual strength training, and we look at the types of technology we could apply to urban sports. And we are doing this to raise urban sports in Brabant to a higher level.” Solutions developed by USPC are

66

sometimes small; for example, a time

LIFESTYLE

trick doing differently compared to a

registration for freerunning that can

The size of the SenSkate is average.

skater who can’t?”

be used in competitions. Sometimes

“A long time ago, we carried out a

Thanks to Nano4Sports, USPC came

the innovations are bigger; for exam-

needs assessment among skaters. We

into contact with imec. Working with

ple, USPC is developing a system that

found out that one group of skaters is

USPC, imec was able to make the

uses sensors for BMX riders to ob-

not waiting for technology; they see

smart skateboard a reality. “Without

jectively monitor the use of the track.

skating as a lifestyle. The other group

imec’s help, we wouldn’t have been

USPC is optimising this system so it

wants to improve and to know exactly

able to carry out this project. Imec has

can be used for large events.

what they are doing during a trick.

the knowledge, but also the funding,

What is one skater who can do the

which is why this is also their product.”


IN DEPTH

The SenSkate prototype.

‘SKATERS KNOW BEST WHAT THEY WANT. WE CAN PUT ON ALL KINDS OF SENSORS FROM A SCIENTIFIC POINT OF VIEW, BUT IF THEY DON’T USE THEM, WHAT’S THE POINT?’

Maxime Verdijk, embedded scientist at USPC.

After the first version, which was quite cumbersome and difficult to use, imec and USPC reduced the size of the sensors and removed the speed and altimeter sensors, among other things. There was no need for them. However, pressure on the deck and rotation of the skateboard

An important part of SenSkate are the

board”, Verdijk says. “The idea is to

are still measured. “At first, we did

pressure sensors. “Imec is very busy

see what is happening step by step.

not have pressure sensors all over

with pressure plates in other sectors.

Then you can identify exactly what

the board, only in a few places. This

This is how we came to test pressure

the skater is doing well and where

made it difficult to see where the

plates in skateboarding. A kind of

things are going wrong.”

skater’s feet were, and it was less

conductor between the top layer and

accurate.”

the skateboard measures where the

RECREATIONAL SPORTS

most pressure is, or whether a skat-

The construction of the skateboard

The SenSkate is still a prototype

er is standing on his toes or heels.

started in January, and the result, an

owned by imec. “For imec, this pro-

Trainers often know how to place

initial prototype, was ready in June.

ject was an opportunity to apply

their feet on the skateboard. By using

On the way, USPC had frequent con-

(new) technologies in extreme situa-

this skateboard, you can prove it.”

tact with skaters – both regular skat-

tions. For us, it was an excellent op-

ers and the best amongst the Dutch

portunity to see what is possible. Can

“We also worked with imec to make

ladies who train in Den Bosch. “These

we offer this to recreational sports

a tool in which we link video images

conversations were very important.

as well? Probably not if we leave the

to the data. At the top of the screen

Skaters know best what they want.

pressure sensors attached. What is

you can see what the skater is doing,

We can put on all kinds of sensors

possible is a smaller, less exclusive

at the bottom of the screen you can

from a scientific point of view, but

version. And together with imec, we

see how long the skater hangs in the

if they don’t use them, what’s the

are looking at the options for Sen-

air and where he puts his feet on the

point?”

Skate’s future.”

67


‘THE END OF THIS PROJECT MARKS THE START OF NEXT STEPS’ Three years of Nano4Sports has done much good. New contacts have been made, knowledge shared, and innovative products and services have been produced. The six participants look back on it positively. “All good things come to an end. I think we can be satisfied with the three years we have had. And it’s now time for the follow-up.” BY MARK VAN DER HEIJDEN

‘CONNECTING KNOWLEDGE TO CREATE VALUE’

“We have many qualities in sensor

sport and vitality. This also motivates

technology in the Netherlands and

other parties to join in.

Flanders. Thanks to Nano4Sports, we can connect the underlying knowl-

Nano4Sports has therefore ensured

René Wijlens, manager Cluster

edge more consciously by working

that the knowledge concerning the

Sports & Technology

on cases together and arriving at in-

questions that live in society become

novative cases that can be of value in

accessible for companies. This allows

‘IT IS GOOD TO EMPHASISE THE SPIN-OFF AND MARKET OPPORTUNITIES IN NANO4SPORTS’ RENÉ WIJLENS

68


NANO4SPORTS

THE REVIEW

‘THERE IS STILL MUCH ROOM FOR FURTHER RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT’ PIETER BAUWENS the creation of value because you

and market in the field of sports

Nano4Sports has helped us incor-

can’t do so much with a sensor alone,

and vitality from our cluster. I have

porate our technologies into textiles,

and neither can you do something

noticed that the relationship with

not only through the integration of

with demand alone. Creating value

Belgian parties has become stronger

the technology itself, but also through

is only possible by bringing sensor

and that tastes like more.”

collaboration, co-design, electronics

knowledge and demand together. Nano4Sports also makes it possible

‘CHALLENGED TO EXPAND KNOWLEDGE’

design and integration. A more lasting contribution of Nano4Sports is the introduction to specific cases that have challenged us to expand our knowl-

to develop cross-border connections. This project has enabled us to bridge

Pieter Bauwens, postdoctoral

the gap between demand in Flanders

researcher at Ghent University

edge. Perhaps even more important is the extensive network that has been

for which the Dutch ecosystem can

built up. It has brought us into contact

be used. Conversely, we can also

with a number of companies active in

acquire technology and knowledge

the sports world.

in Flanders that we do not have in the It is clear that there is interest in our

Netherlands.

integration techniques, be it to deAn example. Field labs are typically

velop a custom test set-up for our

something that we in the Neth-

own research, or to expand our own

erlands have been working on for

range with intelligent monitoring

some time. These are ideal because

for elite athletes and recreational

we work there with the end-user in

athletes. I think there are still many opportunities to be found here, and

co-creation. In Flanders, they link value creation to the university world.

“In the Nano4Sports project, I was

I hope to be able to help with this

It’s also interesting that in certain

involved in the development of

progress.

areas (cycling, biomechanics, etc.)

two cases. The first concerns the

we can find experts in Flanders that

‘Low-Impact-Runner’, in which we

At the end of the project, there is

we don’t have in the South of the

measure the impact of running on the

still much room for further research

Netherlands.

tibia to retrain potential high-impact

and development. The products are

runners to use a low-impact running

not yet ready to be taken over by

It is good to emphasise the spin-off

technique, which should reduce the

industry. Sufficient robustness and

and market opportunities in projects

injury susceptibility. In the second

preferably the ability to wash the

such as Nano4Sports. In my opinion,

case, ’Bike-2-Know’, we tried to inte-

products are currently lacking. In any

a project should not start without

grate motion sensors in a cycling suit

case, concrete plans have already

that intention. We will gladly support

to monitor the posture of the lower

been made with the current partners

connections between knowledge

back, again to avoid injuries.

to continue our project.”

69


‘TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE, A BUNDLING OF EXPERTISE IS NECESSARY’

In order to be able to make a real difference, we need to combine our expertise. To do this well, you need time to get to know each other, and

Steven Vos, Professor of Design

it helps if you can work on concrete

‘THE FIRST STEP TOWARDS EVEN MORE INTENSE AND EXTENSIVE COOPERATION’

& Analysis of Intelligent Systems

cases. We were able to do this in the

Rik van de Wiel, R&D Manager

for Leisure Time Sports & Vitality

project. In particular, we worked on

Connected Health Solutions imec

at TU Eindhoven and Fontys

the design of feedback principles for

University of Applied Sciences

recreational runners. To do this, you need to have various insights from different perspectives. It’s not the first time I’ve worked on a project such as this. At the start of a project, ambitions are always high, but in reality, it takes time to get to know each other. The latter went very smoothly with many partners. Thanks to the project, I also got to know many new companies. It was also easy for

“Our group within imec carries out

me to come into contact with fellow

research and development in the

Thanks to the Nano4Sports project,

researchers, which led to the creation

field of health care, in particular, new

we have been able to strengthen

of new collaborative relationships.

technology that makes it possible to

the exchange of knowledge and

monitor the health of people in their

experience between the different

Of interest now is how the first steps

project partners, as well as

taken in the project will be continued,

cooperation between the partners.

and how new innovations will find

We use our knowledge and tech-

And we have done this across the

their way into marketable products.

nology in Nano4Sports to monitor

borders with Flemish and Dutch

I expect that parts of the project will

athletes. For example, we analyse

project partners, as well as with the

certainly be continued in new collab-

the movement of runners to improve

Dutch project partners themselves.

orations.”

their gait so they can increase their

‘I EXPECT THAT PARTS OF THE PROJECT WILL CERTAINLY BE CONTINUED IN NEW COLLABORATIONS’

daily lives.

performance and reduce injuries. Another example is our CHILL+ wristwatch, which we developed for medical studies into stress. This watch was developed further within Nano4Sports and now gives athletes and trainers a better picture of the recovery and load capacity of an athlete.

STEVEN VOS The greatest value of the project is that it has brought different parties with different knowledge together. In

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NANO4SPORTS

THE REVIEW

‘THE COOPERATION BETWEEN LABS HAS GIVEN US MANY NEW IDEAS AND SOLUTIONS’ RIK VAN DE WIEL particular, the cooperation between the sports and field labs in the Netherlands and Flanders has given us many new ideas and solutions. An example of this is our collaboration with the Fieldlab Adapted Sports. Not much is known about how a blade behaves while running. That’s why we developed a sensor that can measure the deformation of the blade during exercise. We hope to be able to optimise a blade for a runner. We also started a new project with a large number of partners from Nano4Sports to look at vitality. We are using much of what we have built up in Nano4Sports in this project to achieve a broader goal: to keep people active and vital. For imec, this is the first step towards even more intensive cooperation with the Nano4Sports partners and regional parties in the field of sport and vitality.”

These institutions and people were involved in the Nano4Sports project: Ghent University – Victoris Em. Prof. Dirk De Clercq Prof. Veerle Segers Rud Derie Pieter Van den Berghe Bastiaan Breine Joeri Gerlo Davy Spiessens Movement and Sports Sciences Prof. Marc Leman Joren Six Valerio Lorenzoni Art, Music and Theatre Sciences Prof. Philip Roosen Joke Schuermans Cedric Deblaiser Tanneke Palmans Rehabilitation Sciences Prof. Eli De Poorter Prof. Jeroen Hoebeke Jen Rossey Matteo Ridolfi Mathias Baert Internet and Data Science Lab Ghent University – imec Gent Prof. Jan Vanfleteren Pieter Bauwens Tom Sterken Centre for MicroSystems Technology KU Leuven Prof. Benedicte Vanwanseele Faculty of Movement and Rehabilitation Sciences Prof. Jesse Davis Pieter Robberechts Arne De Brabandere Machine Learning and Data Analytics Lab Prof. Andrew Vande Moere Jorgos Coenen Architecture, Research & Design

Prof. Sabine Vanhuffel Jonathan Moeyersons ESAT - STADIUS imec Nederland Connected Health Solutions: ir. Patrick van Deursen, MBA Eva Wentink Heleen Boers Jesse Kling Patrick van der Heijden Andrejs Fedjajevs Shrishail Patki Rik van de Wiel imec Leuven Connected Health Solutions: Prof. Dr. Chris Van Hoof Jan Cornelis Erika Lutin Walter De Raedt Cluster Sports & Technology: Rene Wijlens Marc van der Zande NL living labs: InnoSportLab Sport&Beweeg: Harmen Bijsterbosch (coordinator activiteiten labs in NL) Fontys University of Applied Sciences, School of Sport Studies Prof. dr. Steven Vos Jos Goudsmit Fontys University of Applied Sciences, School of School of Information and Communication Technology dr. Mark de Graaf Olaf Janssen Tom Langhorst Bernd-Jan Witkamp Eindhoven University of Technology Prof. dr. Steven Vos Prof. dr. ir. Aarnout Brombacher Daphne Menheere Industrial Design

71


‘PARTIES FROM FLANDERS AND THE NETHERLANDS HAVE GROWN CLOSER TOGETHER’

Through the project, a good overview

development of a framework with

was formed of the various cases the

clear agreements describing which

project partners were either already

area each partner would work on

working on, or started working on

with the other partners would cer-

during the course of the project.

tainly be an added value. In the pro-

Kristof De Mey, sports technology,

Through the ‘Meet the partners’

ject, this has been achieved on an ad-

innovation & business developer at

events, researchers were able to

hoc basis. A structured approach that

exchange ideas with each other and

is well-founded and contains clear

recognize and discuss the similarities

commitments from each party could

and differences between each other’s

possibly facilitate this even more.”

Ghent University

work. Projects and collaborations often end where the step between research and application in broad sports practice

‘BOUNDARIES BETWEEN SPORT AND TECHNOLOGY ARE BLURRING’

is discussed. The general objective of the project was to facilitate the devel-

Tine Van Lommel, Spin-off and

opment of technologies from a labo-

Innovation KU Leuven

ratory setting towards their use in the field. We have largely succeeded in this. Together with the other partners, “The Nano4Sports project has

we are now looking at how the vari-

brought various parties from Flanders

ous prototypes can be further devel-

and the Netherlands closer togeth-

oped so they can ultimately be used

er. Each organisation has its own

by a larger number of people and

DNA. And through the project, more

thus generate the intended impact.

insights into this have been gained, with the results being more coherent

Projects such as Nano4Sports

at both case, project and partner

also have challenges in terms of

level. This has put the region firmly

cross-border cooperation, especially

on the map.

between academic institutions. The

“The approach taken by Nano4Sports was to blur the border between Flan-

‘PROJECTS SUCH AS NANO4SPORTS ALSO HAVE CHALLENGES IN TERMS OF CROSS-BORDER COOPERATION’

ders and the Netherlands in the field

KRISTOF DE MEY

have their advantages and disadvan-

of sports and technology. I think it was very useful for that purpose. Because there are differences. The field labs, in which tests are carried out with end users, are an entity in themselves. If we want to test in Flanders, we put something together on an ad hoc basis. Both models tages. And it is not about seamless copying. We look at best practices,

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NANO4SPORTS

THE REVIEW

‘WE LOOK AT BEST PRACTICES, THE EXCHANGE OF EXPERIENCES, COLLABORATIONS WITH PARTNERS’

It sounds easy, but it wasn’t always. Sports and technology are also two different disciplines, and they don’t always speak the same language. The fact that the two have come closer together is an important result. Of course, this is not yet finished. No products have been developed that will be brought to market. In the final

TINE VAN LOMMEL

months of the project, we will try to map out follow-up routes. The phys-

the exchange of experiences, collab-

University. How can technology

ical contacts are now there; hopeful-

orations with partners.

motivate people to do more sports

ly they will continue.

and improve, and how can we give In Leuven, we did this with cases

back sensor data to people so they

All good things come to an end. I

involving running. For example, there

can link an action to it?

think we can be satisfied with the

is a collaboration between the arti-

The aim of the project was to work

three years we have had. It is now

ficial intelligence group and Ghent

together, preferably across borders.

time for the follow-up.”

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‘THE BODY GETS HEAVY

STRIKES’ THE FREERUNNING IMPACT CASE


‘THIS IS NOT FINISHED YET. IT’S NOW TIME FOR THE

FOLLOW-UP’

Profile for Arko Sports Media

Nano4Sports 2020  

Nano4Sports 2020