Vicon, developer of motion capture systems for the entertainment, life science and engineering industries, announced that the Sole Technology Institute (STI) is using a Vicon system to capture accurate biomechanics data of skateboarders in action, to assist with the design of footwear that cushions impact and reduces injury. STI's use of this technology is being featured during National Engineering Week (February 21-25) as an application that inspires students to consider engineering careers and fields of study.
STI is part of Sole Technology, Inc, an action sports footwear company specializing in skate shoes, encompassing the brands etnies, ÇS, Emerica, ThirtyTwo and Altamont. In the STI lab, engineers have built a skate ramp with a force plate at the bottom. Skaters don a motion capture suit and the Vicon cameras capture the athlete in motion, while the force plate measures the impact when they land after jumps, tricks, riding ramps and rails, and falls. The data is then compiled and used to understand the exact biomechanics and aid in the design of cushioning technologies for skate shoes.
STI's Lab Manager, Jeremy Determan, said, "We're concentrating mostly on the lower body - looking at interactions between ankles, knees and hips. What's fascinating is the amount of impact force on skaters' bodies, which is much higher than in traditional sports. Running, for example, gives you a 2X body weight impact. Basketball is around 6X. Jumping down stairs on a skateboard delivers an 8-10X body weight impact, if you land cleanly. If not, it's up to 17X. It's easy to see that taking cushioning materials from shoes designed for basketball and putting them in skate shoes isn't enough to protect people's feet, especially kids. By knowing how much force is being applied on the foot, we were able to develop the first ever patented skateboarding cushioning technology for skate shoes, System G2. Vicon's system and the accuracy of our motion capture data is a key tool in informing our research."
The STI lab was founded in 2003, and Determan updated its motion capture system to Vicon in 2010. "We looked at a number of options and were really impressed with what Vicon had to offer in terms of hardware features and camera advancements. Vicon allowed us to expand our capture volume and capture at higher speeds and frequencies than any other systems did."
STI also uses the data captured from the Vicon system to generate animations for marketing purposes. "The accuracy of the data we're getting with Vicon is greatly improved and so much cleaner and easier to work with," said Determan. "We're really happy with the upgrade. It used to take us 30 minutes to track a trial and clean it up. Now it takes less than five."
STI recently had the cameras turned on themselves, when a crew from the National Engineers Week Foundation came in to shoot their operation to feature in its programming for National Engineers Week (February 21-25). The program is geared to reach out to current and future generations to inspire them to consider careers and study in engineering. See the result at discoverengineering.org.
About STI and Sole Technology, Inc.
The Sole Technology Institute or "STI" is the world's first and only scientific sports research lab dedicated to the study of action sports. As skateboarding and snowboarding have advanced and evolved over the years, so has the need for better performing footwear for the athletes involved in these activities. Realizing that much of today's action sports footwear technology has been "borrowed" from other sports due to a lack of research, STI decided it was time to step up and do something about it. STI is the R&D arm of Sole Technology, Inc., the globally recognized leader in authentic action sports footwear and apparel that is available in more than 70 countries and is one of the largest private action sports companies with revenues closing in at $200 million. The company's holdings include top brands - etnies, ÇS, Emerica, ThirtyTwo and Altamont.