BIOMECHANICAL SPORTS ANALYSES IN CYBERSPACE

  • G.B. Ariel

Abstract

Biomechanical quantification of both the athletic participants and the sporting events themselves have included video-based biomechanics, electromyography, ground force measurements with force plates, and other tests. Enhancement of these technological tools can be accomplished through accessing "Cyberspace". While "Cyberspace" is merely a term created to represent a universe sustained by a vast network of computers and telecommunications lines, the advent of the internet made it a reality. Rapid satellite/computer exchanges provide worldwide access to on-line information resources and services. The speed of transmission and the contact with even the most isolated locations will enable the biomechanical quantification of athletes and events to advance into a new age of technology resources, research, data base development, and interaction among scientists, coaches, and teachers. Biomechanists can retrieve and display data as well as documents from virtually anywhere on the planet. As a technology designed for searching and retrieving, internet provides a unified interface to the diverse protocols, data formats, and information archives appropriate for biomechanical endeavors. Electronic links, known as "hyperlinks", can provide specified information within a document by embedding images, sounds, graphs, bibliographies, supplementary resources, data bases, etc. Similarly, complex biomechanical research segments at different research sites can be linked so that studies can be conducted at multiple locations and data rapidly exchanged among the sites. Biomechanical research and subsequent reports become virtually three-dimensional with this multiple level access. The present study was designed as a simple test to determine the efficacy of aquiring data at one location with simultaneous on-line interaction with a second site. Although the Internet electronic linking capabilities allow more elaborate research protocols the efficacy of interfacing two sites with nearly real time data transference and quantification was deemed sufficient for this study. The Internet tools selected as appropriate were (1) File Transfer Protocol (FTP) to transfer large video and document files from site to site, (2) Gopher to retrieve and post research finding and progress documents, (3) World Wide Web (WWW)to hyperlink documents with video images and sound, (4) Hyper Text Mark-up Language (HTML,) to create the Hyper-link documents. Video images of track athletes were acquired, grabbed into hard disk files, and transmitted across the United States between the athletic and the quantification sites. Digitization, transformation, smoothing, and brief summary descriptions were executed at the quantification site. Subsequently information was exchanged between the locations for dissemination to the athletes. After the athletes practiced the recommended changes, their performances were filmed and retransmitted. The study demonstrated that biomechanical research can utilize the Internet effectively when conducting and sharing research between distant locations.