Vibrating motors in suit train Olympians

May 2, 2012
MotivePro — the Vibrating Suit — is designed to give wearers feedback about where their body is in space. It does this by focussing on key points in the body, taking relative measurements between them to check the user's position. This data, much more simple to acquire and treat in real time than more complex motion capture systems, is then used to give the wearer feedback in real time about their movement.

MotivePro is a vibrating suit developed by British Birmingham City University researchers Gregory Sporton, Stephen Wanless, and PhD student Jonathon Green.

The suit is designed to give wearers feedback about where their body is in space. It does this by focusing on key points in the body, taking relative measurements between them to check the user's position. This data, much more simple to acquire and treat in real time than more complex motion capture systems, is then used to give the wearer feedback in real time about their movement.

The sensors include a vibrating motor, like that found on a mobile phone, and these can be set to vibrate to indicate when someone moves outside a desirable range. This is not the only use of the data: it can also be transformed into sound or visual files, all designed to give feedback in real time that enables wearers to adjust their movements in performance.

It's been tested by rising star and Olympic hopeful Mimi Cesar, a rhythmic gymnast, and her coaching staff recognized the suit’s potential in giving UK athletes a competitive advantage.

About the Author

Elisabeth Eitel

Elisabeth Eitel was a Senior Editor at Machine Design magazine until 2014. She has a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Fenn College at Cleveland State University.

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