The little black thing hidden in the scientist's hand may be like a caramel of a licorice but it's completely sugar-free. Instead, it is full of meters that can map human movements. Very accurate. The sensor includes both a gyroscope, an accelerometer, and a barometer, and can, by the way, measure the angles of the arms and legs as they move.
Sensor technology has recently been used as a first aid to the search for Norwegian ski equipment. But researchers have several snooze applications: technology can help people with creeping and chronic disease have multiple sclerosis.
"We also see that this will eventually become a useful tool for amateurs because technology can be used in intelligent clocks," says SINTEF researcher Trine Seeberg, who runs the project.
It seems "everything" through your movements
In the subject language, this type of sensor is called IMU, which is an acronym for the inertial movement unit.
"The sensors collect all the information and send it to a computer. In other words, if your body is equipped with the IMU of the arms and legs, chest and back, every little movement is detected, says researcher Trine M. Seeberg at SINTEF.
Information can be combined with data from other sensors, such as physiological parameters such as heart rate and muscle activity, force sensors and contextual information such as temperature and humidity. If the test happens outdoors, it can also be connected to GPS.
– Recently, the press reports that the most precise Ragnhild Mowinckel has used the most accurate GPS sensors to improve its swing technique with very good results. In this project, we use GPS technology, but we do not need good accuracy and connect with other types of sensors than we used., says Seigbour.
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- The aim of the project is to develop tools, methods and models that enable the extraction of useful and reliable information from various sensory data related to human activity and activity.
- The project consists of an interdisciplinary team of researchers from SINTEF, NTNU, Olympiatoppen, the Oslo University Clinic and the Hakadal MS Center. AutoActive looks at the usefulness of the sensor technology that is attached to the body in conjunction with both cross-country and MS.
- The collected data will be tools that can be used to develop models that provide a comprehensive understanding of performance, physiological responses and outdoor cross-country running techniques and for training and tracking people with MS.
- The project is under way and will last another three years.
- AutoActive is funded by the IKTPluss Scientific Council, project number 270791:
It can become an important tool in the battle with medals
Together, the data from the various sensors gives researchers detailed information about everything from failure in the skier's ski technique to how the muscular patient moves.
The purpose is for both groups of users to take advantage of the information so they can improve their physical work. Or to optimize ski equipment or to work smart against increased muscle strength.
But that is not easy. To make this possible, researchers should look behind the numbers, measurements, and quantity of data: they must be able to recognize patterns so that data can be interpreted and become practical information. In other words, researchers must develop algorithms; mathematical tools that recognize patterns and that can transform the numbers in this model into information that can be used to use something useful.
Algorithms are the basis of computer programs that need to be developed so that the movements of advanced machines that the human body can be optimized, explains Trine Seeberg, a SINTEF researcher.
"Now we use the technology, we can automatically recognize the sub-technique the runner uses in the terrain, and characterize the various sub-techniques. This is a place for classical technique. The next step is to find the exact parameters that can give skiers technical improvements in each sub-technique and develop the same for skating, says Seeberg.
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Researcher and research site
In this project, which was named AutoActive, the physicist, track enthusiast and explorer Trine M. Seeberg at SINTEF collaborated, inter alia, with Professor Øyvind Sandbakk at the NTNU Senior Research Center. The latter is also the head of research and development at the Olympic and even competent skier.
Now he participates both as a researcher and as a researcher, while Seeberg leads the project and receives a doctorate at NTNU as part of the work.
Since the results will be used to support everything from elite actors competing with amateurs and affected by Member States, a large and interdisciplinary research team is needed to solve the problem:
– We at SINTEF have brought a star team to this project. The technical partners are SINTEF Digital and DSP, while medical knowledge is covered by the MS Clinic at Ullevål by OUS and MS Center in Hakadal. NTNU (Center for Best Sports Research) and Olympiapopen take care of sports, says Trine Seeberg.
The result is so much data that shows the pattern of movement and performance of the participants.
It reveals the mistakes of skiers in various sub-techniques
Right now, Trine has attached the small sensors to the arms, legs, chest and back to Øyvind Sandbakk. He is now in a "job" – he will "skate" on roller skating on a treadmill here at the Granåsen Top Sports Center in Trondheim.
– In the cross-country case, we are in an advanced phase and we have completed the first data collections, here we are working on the work done for several years in the emPower project we made with Madshus ski maker., says the researcher.
What is especially important for cross-country cycling or cycling is that within ski-runs, skiers continually alternate between different sub-techniques. That's why researchers have worked extensively to make sensors recognize the different sub-techniques.
– To get an idea of how much different sub-techniques are used and what technical solutions are most effective, you provide useful information both during training and for the best athletes in ski-running. This information can be used to find development areas that can be optimized, explains Øyvind Sandbakk.
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– A great tool
At the same time, chief physician and professor of neurological diseases, Elizabeth Gulosen Celius of Oslo University Hospital, are starting to look at the first results of experiments with MS patients. She likes what she sees.
"This will be a fantastic tool for us," said the doctor enthusiastically. The results made at the MS Center in Hakadal show that the benefit to patients and therapists is great, although we have only used patient sensors so far.
Pilot testing has given us insight into how the technology can be used extra. The next step is to equip patients with sensors and chest, back and arms.
"We know that physical activity is very important to our patients. But we have not had a precise way to measure progress so far. But here comes this amazing technology that helps, says the Chief, and continues:
– When we know that the best athletes can use this to change their technique, it does not need to be mentioned that it may be of great importance to people who have training as an important part of the treatment. Small corrections can have serious consequences for the individual MS patient. If we can analyze movements and changes in them after purposeful training in a precise way, we can also track patients more systematically over time.
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A new tool for treating MS sufferers
She says that in recent years doctors have happily received several drugs that can keep the disease usable for testing. Now the goal is to use the knowledge of this application development project to help patients with more purposeful and accurate training.
The use of sensors also makes it possible to measure the effects of both therapies to influence disease progression and symptomatic treatment. For example, doctors want to use sensors to assess the usefulness of drugs that improve muscle strength and endurance. For example, sensors will measure the change in the walking function and balance more objectively.
"This will be a very useful tool both for motivating the sick to exercise properly and purposefully and for tracking the disease in a totally different way than before., says consultant Elizabeth Gulosen Celius, who thus runs the medical part of the project at Oslo University Hospital.
You can call the beautiful back of the medal battle.
Facts about MS disease
- Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic neurological disorder that affects young people, usually between 20 and 40 years of age.
- Disease can cause the patient to lose power and control the muscles of the body, get sensory disturbances, vision problems, balance problems and other symptoms of the brain or spinal cord. The picture of the disease has great differences.
- While some look completely healthy, but can struggle with falling and stumbling, others are affected by a wheelchair. Early diagnosis is essential for optimal treatment. In recent years, we have received medicines that can slow the progression of the disease, but unfortunately we can not cure the disease.
- Patients benefit greatly from physical exercise and with purposeful exercises can improve muscle strength, but this is hard to measure so far.
- The use of sensor technology attached to a patient's body can provide the therapist and the patient with useful and purposeful information about everything – from the benefits of the drug to the way you have to exercise to improve your daily routine.
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The case was first published on Gemini.no – Study magazine for NTNU and SINTEF