How CAMERA is supporting British athletes to succeed at the Olympic Winter Games
A collaboration that started a decade ago between CAMERA Co-Investigator Dr Steffi Colyer and the British Bobsleigh and Skeleton Association is helping to support atheletes to succeed at the 2022 Winter Olympic Games. Some of the latest EPSRC-funded research draws on computer science expertise from CAMERA in which British Skeleton is a key partner and has resulted in the development of a non-invasive markerless motion capture technology to help coaches accurately measure athletes’ push start performances.
Skeleton is a winter sport where athletes rapidly accelerate on ice whilst pushing a sled before launching forwards on to it and navigating the corners of the track at speeds of up to 90 mph. Improvements of fractions of a second made at the start can make all the difference at the finish line. Therefore, it is useful for both athletes and their coaching team to be able to monitor the performance of athletes during this start phase and how they respond to training.
Standard methods of optical motion capture, using multiple reflective markers on the athlete and the sled to measure their movement in 3D space, are time consuming to set up and can interfere with the athlete’s natural performance.
To overcome this, researchers at CAMERA the University of Bath’s motion research centre, have developed a non-invasive markerless system using computer vision and deep learning methods to measure velocity and estimate poses by identifying body landmarks from regular image data.