Building on the recent growth in fitness technology development for monitoring sporting performance, the trend is now expanding to technique training systems. They’re already used by elite players and teams – now the availability of low-cost components opens the door to wider usage.
Making these benefits accessible at low cost requires smart system design. To showcase our skills in this field, we have created the ArcAid basketball shooting training system.
Our focus was on the requirements and desired outcome. We considered how to use smart mathematics that would relax the requirements on the hardware to allow the use of lower-cost components – and considered the risks and implications of different design decisions.
So how does it work?
Cameras (low-cost webcams) mounted in the backboard monitor the approach of the ball and triangulate its trajectory. This is compared with the mathematical optimal trajectory, and the system uses this data to provide feedback to the player on the power, angle and direction of their shot.
Unlike some of the elite systems which require professional calibration, the ArcAid system is very easy to set up and can be calibrated simply by throwing the ball several times.
It is also very scalable – adding a few additional cameras or using a wider-angle lens could provide coverage of an entire court. Use of infographics enables the data to be converted into actionable information for the team coach.
By combining low-cost components in a smart system design, we can bring the benefit of expert coaching to a much wider audience and train the athletes of the future.
We applied our system design principles to basketball shooting technique but the approach is equally applicable to other sports and other fields. It could be used to help athletes understand how to improve their tennis swing, for example, or their skating technique. Or imagine how it could help patients to improve their use of a medical device…