Two different popular monitoring methods for high speed motions are digital optical systems and video cameras. Both approaches rely on placing the markers on the area of interest with the position and motion of the markers recorded. The systems are quite accurate and have been used to monitor the performance of athletes for many years. However, these systems are quite expensive and often a large amount of setup time is required prior to running the experiment and a considerable time is spent to process the collected data. Marker based optical systems are required to operate inside the laboratory and not in the real environment and are only accessible for a limited number of athletes.
By taking advantage of the advancement in microelectronics and other micro technologies, it is possible to build cheap, miniaturized, light weight, and non- invasive instruments to monitor the performance of athletes in a number of sporting activities These new technologies have sufficiently accurate outcomes when compared to optical and video systems. Micro ElectroMechanical Systems (MEMS) based inertial sensors including accelerometers and gyroscopes are good examples of using micro-technology to monitor athletes
The project arose initially out of work in montoring the swing of a Japanese sword to try to improve proficiency and was the subject of a PhD investigation, and featured in new Scientist (See Amin Ahmadi)