In sport, winning and losing can be determined by a fraction. Think of a football that’s literally inches off the goal. Injury can also be just as likely to happen if an angle or a foot positioning is ever so slightly off. Technology now plays a much bigger role in the world of sport than we ever anticipated. More specifically, mocap (motion-capture) technology.
Biomechanists rely on this technology for their research on how athletes move. For those who aren’t sure of the term biomechanics, it’s essentially the science of analysing human movement. For example, how a tennis player’s positioning affects the strength behind their racquet as they hit the ball to their opposition. We take a look at 3 sports and how mocap is helping coaches and athletes raise the bar when it comes to performing.
Your lower back deals with a lot more pressure than you can feel when you’re jogging around the park. The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, with the help of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), conducted a study on how the lower back is affected when we run. Using motion capture technology, virtual models were created based on eight real runners wearing pressure-sensitive plates.
The findings, as described by Ajit Chaudhari, Ph.D., revealed that much of the back-supporting burden was carried by muscles in the deep core, rather than the surface abdominal muscles. So, when you leave it up to your surface muscles, you’ll still perform but those muscles apply much more pressure to the spine - whereas your deep core offers a lot more support without relying on them.
In any sport, correct form not only reduces injury, but as an athlete it’s imperative to help you win the race. Nathan Adrian, five-time Olympic gold medalist, went from “just using the coach’s eyeballs” to strapping LEDs to his body in order to analyse his movement in the water.
Mocap technology enables him and his coaches to see in real-time each individual movement - the angle of his foot, the force behind each stroke - making it a more effective way of training.