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Rockin' Science

With his air guitar that actually plays sound!! Superinteractive’s CEO Dr Richard Helmer demonstrated that meaningful repeatable biomechanical measurement and amazing interactive experiences can be created using wearable sensors. Whilst this was a step closer to many airguitarists dreams, applying biofeedback to movement patterns in this way can help develop your technique, teach others your technique, and keep you performing at your peak.

In the moment, low latency, interactive feedback like this provides an important means of assisting learning through engaging the subconscious motor processes, promoting specific proprioceptive awareness, and manipulating task focus. A deep understanding of preferred movement and strategies to promote it is key to effectively using interactive feedback to advance performance. Insight from sports professionals, including experienced coaches, sports biomechanists and skill acquisition specialists, is vital for effective outcomes. Often this technology will be used differently depending on the skill of the user. For example, interactive feedback has been successfully applied to directly assist technique development in novices (e.g. in Basketball freethrow in schools), whilst at the elite level it has been used to create engaging training exercises (e.g. goal shooting in Netball) where creating secondary tasks and mental analogies during regular training drills can assist athletes to be less influenced by game pressure and deliberate distractions. Wearable technologies, like that used for the air guitar, allow this to be done in the natural performance environment during daily training drills. Here Interactive feedback can be used to increase movement range and remove undesired motions. At the elite sports level making subtle modifications to technique needs to be very carefully considered in terms of an athletes overall skills and performance. For example, in elite level Australian Rules Football (AFL), interactive feedback was used to promote greater knee flexion during the loading phase of kicking training drills to assist development of low trajectory high velocity kicks. Whilst in the lead up to 2012 London Olympics, subtle undesirable movements were removed from Mitchell watts running technique (in one session!) who went on to record a personal best and win a Silver Olympic Medal that year. In each case, insight from sports movement and learning experts was necessary to design and implement an effective interactive experience.

“in that one session at QCAS Main Stadium, using the interactive sleeve we were able to draw attention to an undesirable motion observed by his coach and see Mitch make a technique correction that helped him achieve his personal best”, Dan Greenwood, Senior Skill Acquisition Specialist at the Australian Institute of Sport.