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Sensors Embedded in Sports Equipment Could Provide Real-Time Analytics to Your Smartphone


A cricket ball containing sensors wrapped in a protective case.

In an effort to make big data analytics more accessible for the sports industry, researchers are utilizing Internet of Things devices that can be embedded into sports equipment and wearable devices.

Credit: University of Illinois News Bureau

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) Coordinated Science Laboratory are experimenting with Internet of Things devices that can be embedded into sports equipment, as well as in wearable devices, in an effort to make data analytics more accessible to the sports industry.

The researchers have devised advanced motion-tracking algorithms for the various incomplete and noisy measurements of inertial measurement unit sensors and wireless radios, fitted within a ball and players' shoes. The tiny sensors utilize inferencing algorithms that can track movement within a few centimeters. Real-time analytics should be possible anytime and anywhere if the technology gains momentum. The researchers say the data also could help detect and analyze player injuries.

"We've truly scratched the surface for applications with these sensors," says UIUC Ph.D. candidate Mahanth Gowda. "The algorithms provide extremely fine-grained detail and accuracy in measurements, but use common measuring tools that can be found in any smartphone."

From University of Illinois News Bureau
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