Inertial Sensing Applications

Case Studies
Wireless Inertial Measurement and Biomechanical Analysis in Professional Darts
Wireless Inertial Measurement and Biomechanical Analysis in Professional Darts

Biomechanical performance measurement using wireless inertial sensors for professional and recreational darts players

Biomechanical performance is an important factor for developing darts players. The darts throw happens so quickly (< 200 ms) that it can be difficult for even the trained eye of an experienced coach to identify the miniscule movement differences that can determine the technical proficiency of a player. Traditionally for high precision sports such as darts, biomechanical information is captured with an optical marker system, which is immobile, expensive and requires a specialized team to operate. More recent advances in wearable sensor technology now enable the measurement of kinematics using noninvasive sensors embedded in athletic clothing.

Data from one professional player aged 24 years and ranked within the top 75 in the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) world rankings and two recreational players aged 28 and 25 respectively were used in the analysis for this work. A single custom built Wireless Inertial Measurement Unit (WIMU) was placed on the proximal fore-arm for each participant. Each player performed 150 throws in a real game situation. Score and the projectile’s final position on the target were recorded manually.

As had been reported previously players with higher skill level had the ability to regulate a number of variable parameters affecting outcome, for each discrete overarm throwing action, more effectively then the less skilled players. These parameters included the maximum acceleration of the throwing arm (std. dev. Pro. 0.01 g, Rec 0.2g), the maximum speed of the throwing arm (std. dev. Pro. 0.1 ms^1, Rec 0.3 ms^1), and the throw timing (std. dev. Pro. 0.15 sec, Rec 0.67 sec). These results concur with previous measurements taken using an optical marker system. Placing WIMU's on a darts players arm holds potential for coaches to easily measure biomechanical factors thusly quantifying their players performance without the need to use a complex biomechanics laboratory. Coaches can use this data to fine-tune elite athletes or to screen younger players for characteristics that are indicative of a high
performance potential in the future.

Contact: 

Michael Walsh
Phone: +353 21 4904440
Email: michael(dot)walsh(at)tyndall(dot)ie

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