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University of Texas Analysis of a Swimmer's Starting Block Jump

Contact Information

University: University of Texas at Austin

Team Members (with year of graduation): Daniel Chen, Daniel Jagodzinski,Kevin Schreck, Miles Tabibian, all graduated spring 2013

Faculty Advisers: Dr. Raul Longoria, Dr. Richard Crawford

Email Address:

Submission Language English

Project Information

Title: Analysis of a Swimmer's Starting Block Jump


This project was completed as a senior design project for a BS in Mechanical Engineering.

The goal of this project is to create a device to measure the characteristics of a swimmer's starting block jump and provide useful feedback to swimmers and coaches using LabVIEW and other hardware.


LabVIEW 2012

NI Vision

LabVIEW Database Connectivity Toolkit

Other products:

Nintendo Wii Balance Board

Logitech HD Webcam

Microsoft Access 2010

The Challenge

In the sport of swimming, the difference between finishing times can be mere fractions of a second. A swimmer's starting block jump is a critical part of a race, yet there currently is no technology that aides swimmers and coaches in optimizing starting block jump technique. The goal of this project is to develop a device that can measure various characteristics of a swimmer's starting technique and provide useful feedback to help optimize the swimmer's trajectory and thrust force off the starting block.

The Solution

We built a force measuring device that sits on top of existing starting blocks in swim centers to measure the force exterted by both feet during a jump. This device utilizes several sensors from Wii Balance Boards to measure the force, and wirelessly transmits the data through bluetooth to the computer. Our LabVIEW program collects, analyzes, and displays this data for the user to review. We also setup an HD webcam on the side of the pool to record the jump. Our LabVIEW program takes this video feed and tracks the trajectory of the jump. It also calculates characteristics such as entry angle, and entry velocity.

Overall the LabVIEW program is designed with the end user, swimmers and coaches, in mind. The program needed to be operable by people of non-technical background. We automated as many of the tasks as possible, and then created an easy to use UI for coaches to record and replay data. We also created a database backend to store and recall runs, as well as functions such as frame-by-frame replay of the video and side-by-side comparison of runs.

Why LabVIEW?

LabVIEW offered many advantages for our project. NI Vision is an extremely powerful, yet simple to program, way to track objects in a video feed. The NI community has created several VI's that make interfacing with the Wii Balance Board sensors very easy. NI's Database Connectivity Toolkit allowed us to use commercial database software and integrate it into our program.

The hardware designed for measuring the force of the swimmer's feet during the jump

**video in production**

Level of completion: alpha (first functioning prototype)

Time to build: 10+ weeks

Future improvements to the device would include a total redesign of the force measuring hardware to make it slimmer and lighter, and then integrating the new hardware into the LabVIEW program.

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