GAITEYE® SENSOR TECHNOLOGY & RESEARCH PERSPECTIVES
Endurance running has become the one of the largest recreational sports worldwide due to its simplicity and minimal expense. Since the 1970’s, which has been termed the ‘Running Boom’ era, major marathons in the USA have seen a 20-Fold increase in participants (www.runningusa.org). This increase in participation was mirrored by an increase in the prevalence of running-related injury. It is estimated that up to 79% of endurance runners suffer a running-related injury that is severe enough to prevent them from training during any given year (Reference). Technological adaptations have been introduced throughout the years that have aimed to mitigate these alarmingly high rates of injury. Running shoes have been the centre of these technological changes, with hyper-cushioning as well as minimal or no cushioning being explored (Reference)(Reference). Although several ‘beneficial’ interventions have been tested, the prevalence of running-related injury remains unperturbed.
WHY IS THE GAITEYE® SENSOR TECHNOLOGY INTERESTING FOR RESEARCH & SPORTS UNIVERSITIES WORLDWIDE?
Several biomechanical variables have been identified that offer favourable characteristics for running in terms of efficiency and injury attenuation. Although most of these variables are highly individual, and thus only benefit a small percentage of runners, some variables have been shown to provide a significant biomechanical advantage. For example, landing with a forefoot strike has been shown to reduce the impact transient associated with running (Reference)(Reference). This impact transient is related to a high loading rate which has been strongly linked to running related injury (Reference). Furthermore, some studies have found that adopting a forefoot strike pattern is also associated with an improved running economy (Reference)(Reference).
Obvious limitations exist when analysing running gait, since most studies make use of treadmill running or over ground running within a laboratory setting. This is not reliable since it does not take certain factors into consideration such as surface variability, surface inclination and over ground running fatigue.
Gaiteye® have developed a sensor (Gaiteye® Sensor) that measures various biomechanical variables whilst running. It makes use of an accelerometer combined with gyroscope that is able to detect distinct time points within the gait cycle. It relays live feedback on variables that have been linked to injury and performance such as footstrike pattern and ankle angles. This is a powerful tool as it allows for biomechanical analysis of functional over ground running to thereby help shed new light to the research and hypothesis´ about the relation between running technique, running economy and risk of injury, based on real life data.
FIRST INSTALLAION IN PLACE AT UCC PROFESSIONSHØJSKOLEN IN DENMARK (www.ucc.dk)
The first installation of the Gaiteye® Sensor Technology took place at UCC Professionshøjskolen in Hillerød on July 1st 2015. The system is thereby ready for when the Physiotherapist students return from summer holiday eager to start new exciting research projects using new technology.
The 10 Gaiteye® Sensors included in the UCC package can be used both for measuring the biomechanics on the treadmill on both feet, but more importantly, they can be used in the field out of the artificial “lab like” circumstances . All data collected is stored in an SQL database in the cloud.
During the first presentation of the system back in February 2015 to the team of Physiotherapists at UCC (see picture below), the first 10 potential bachelor projects, where the Gaiteye® Technology could be applied were already discussed. The relation between footstrike and fatigue, but also how footstrike correlates with risk of injury are just two obvious projects that came to mind.
However looking further down the road, the ambition is for the Gaiteye® Technology to not only be used in establishing the ground scientific work behind running technique and running economy, but also within the field of health technology in general ie. in relation to lifestyle related illnesses like Type 2 diabetes, handicaps affecting the gait in relation to neurological diseases like Multiple Sclerosis or Parkinsons. This again needs to be done in cooperation with the relevant Universities and Institutions.
“The vision behind Gaiteye has from a scientific point of view always been to develop a Sensor that delivers objective, accurate and reliable data to an area that today is most often based on subjective evaluations. An area where there is no common standard of measuring the biomechanical metrics under normal over ground running circumstances, but only under artificial indoor “lab like” circumstances with advanced 3D motion cameras recording runners on a treadmill. Basically we are a technological company that delivers unique data – it is up to the experts within biomechanics to help interpret that data and draw conclusions”.
“At Gaiteye® we acknowledge the fact that the optimal running technique/style for one runner may not necessarily be the same for another. The optimal running technique is personal and is based on many other factors than just footstrike. For this reason we have focused on developing a solution that via set targets can be customized to reflect individual running styles and beliefs. If one does not have the insight into determining ones optimal running technique, we always recommend to consult with a Physiotherapist or running coach. For the same reason, we are currently setting up partnerships with Physiotherapists across Denmark, who use the Gaiteye® System and can thus provide our customers with the expert know-how in biomechanics and guidance in setting the optimal running targets using the Gaiteye® Sensor and App that goes with it.
We simply wish to challenge the way we run!!”
Says CEO & Co-Founder of Gaiteye, Christian Harpsøe
ABOUT UCC PROFESSIONSHØJSKOLEN
UCC Campus provides a framework for five professional bachelor degree programmes, reseach and development and activities in the professional health- and educational field. Read more at www.ucc.dk