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iMeasure U

Capture metrics at runtime for professional athletes.

Client

The Australian Institute of Sport

What we did

Mobile Apps

UX and Visual Design

Year

2014

iMeasure U was founded with the business idea to incorporate physic-based computational models to help record and analyse body movements. Their work began with The Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) through a research and development project testing the ability of their inertial measurement unit (IMU). The IMU device was designed to record and translate data about athletes to help improve their performance and reduce the risk of injury.

The Challenge

The initial testing project for the AIS was needed for iMeasure U to gain sufficient funding for the development of a commercial runners app that could be made available to the wider public. At the time iMeasure U’s IMU technology was purely connected to desktops which translated information stored on their sensor devices through wireless Bluetooth Low Energy or from storing it internally on a memory card and manually downloading the data. iMeasure U had the algorithms and data processing tools to obtain the data but needed the expertise to develop an enterprise app for the AIS to use for its athletes.

Solution

We initially began with the development of a commercial runners app that iMeasure U was designing for all sports enthusiasts from amateurs to professionals. But shortly into development changes were made to switch the focus onto an initial enterprise iOS app; IMU Suite for the AIS and their athletes.

The R&D project required us to create a mobile app to test and collect data within a tight schedule of 6 weeks. We took on the challenge designing and creating a series of features along with implementing simple navigation and stunning visual appeals. Five sport activities of Running, Power Meter, Throwing, Velocity and Orientation were included to test athletes on a range of body movements and techniques.

Firstly users are required to create their own personal account by registering through email. By entering their name, gender, height and weight the app calculates their own BMI and recommended daily water intake. Users then can pick a sport activity of their choice to measure differences in body movements to help them with their training.

The mobile app picks up sensors nearby which users then select for analysis. For example for Running, athletes would place the IMU sensor around their inner ankle and begin a search for sensors through a start button on the mobile app. The use of IMU’s wireless connection using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) allows the sensor(s) to be picked up. Data on heel strikes and shocks measuring the total number of steps and the load for each impact can then be retrieved. This is to analyse the impact on users ligaments to identify when too much strain will occur. With this data appropriate duration and intensity of trainings are suggested as well as an accurate calculation of required rest times.

After the session is complete users are given a workout review on the app where they report on the intensity of the exercise out of ten and whether or not they were injured in the process. Power Meter activities such as squat jumps are monitored by entering the weight and the number of reps undergone. Throwing activities in particular for javelin athletes measure the magnitude, peaks in strength and average strength of throws. For Velocity activities the sensor(s) detect time and distance data to provide insightful data on their speed. Finally the orientation feature focuses on measures of rotation, flexion and roll.

Data on the vertical (YAW), side to side (Pitch) and front to back axis (Roll) changes in the direction of athletes feet is gathered. In addition Flexion is compared on a scale of Plantar and Dorsi relating to the extension of the foot at the ankle.

The Running, Throwing and Orientation activities all transmit data from the IMU sensor to the Suite app in real time whereas Power Meter and Velocity work offline saving the data on the internal SD card which is then automatically synced when the app is in range.

We gave the option for users to enabled this data by their own preferences. Data can be viewed and saved under each session or activities can be viewed separately. Past performance is also stored which can be accessed. To export the data users simply need to swipe to the right under each session, this history can then be sent directly to iMeasure U’s database for analysis as well exported as cvs files that can be sent via email for personal review.

All these aspects were designed to help runners and cyclists to identify the pressures their knees and ligaments undergo while training under different intensities. Through this users can make informed adjustments to their techniques to improve performance while also reducing the risk of future strain and injury. We enabled this integration of information by providing the IMU Suite app that connects with the sensors and displays results visually in a simple manner.

The IMU Suite App has also allowed iMeasure U to test its existing hardware and sensors against highly talented athletes that has generated important insights for their consumer app that will monitor a range of people with different fitness levels and running styles. It provides quantitative solutions and relevant feedback for users ultimately enhancing their skills.

Results

Winners at NZ Innovators Awards In 2014 iMeasure U was awarded as the winner for Innovation in Information Communications Technology and Cloud Solutions at the NZ Innovators Awards. The iMU app helped the judges seee iMeasure U’s potential to succeed in the growing market and showcased the possibilities available for future innovations.