Assessing wireless inertia measurement units for monitoring athletics sprint performance

A cheap and easy to use monitoring device that can be used within the athletics sprinting community is being developed. A device which enables coaches to monitor key features of an athlete's sprint start, allowing the effect of any technical adjustments made to be examined closely, could be used as a tool to assist in an athlete's development of a more optimsed performance. Whilst wireless inertial measurement units have been used successfully to monitor running, walking and to recognise other day to day activities such as stair walking, sitting and driving, the efficacy of these devices to be used in the monitoring of a sprint start in a running race has yet to be determined. The accuracy of both the timing and acceleration profiles recorded by a wireless wearable device, when compared to data collected using Vicon motion capture system, are described in this paper. Twenty five sprint start trials were recorded and eight features where identified and automatically determined via bespoke software algorithms. Timing and acceleration data from these points were then compared between the two methods of collection. The timing accuracy of the inertial measurement unit was accurate to 0.025 ± 0.024 s. The variance between the acceleration readings was larger ranging from 1.15 - 2.60 m/s2 with a mean of 1.81 m/22.