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Olympic Vibrations

We have spoken before about potential uses for vibration motors to help benefit athletes in a number of ways. Now with the London 2012 Olympics upon us, we had a quick brainstorm to suggest a couple of ways in which athletes may have used vibration technology to give them the best shot at a gold medal.

Gymnast’s Routines

This received quite a bit of press coverage a couple of months back. The MotivePro suit was developed by Gregory Sporton at the University of Birmingham. Originally developed to help improve his ballet routine (he was previously a dancer), and since then other gymnasts and Olympic hopefuls used the suit to provide feedback about their movements.

With sensors measuring the exact movements of the gymnast, discreet vibration motors will alert them when they are outside of the desired position for the routine. The sensors communicate with each other to record the user’s body position, meaning it could potentially be used for group routines.

An interesting proposition for synchronised swimming teams? Perhaps they should read our Application Bulletin on how to waterproof vibration motors:

AB-016: Experiments in Waterproofing and Overmolding Vibration Motors


In a similar vein to the MotivePro suit, horse riders have used vibration alerting technology to provide them with information about how they are performing. Slightly simpler than placing the vibration motors at the extremities of the limbs, these can be mounted in a vest worn around the rider’s torso.

We suggested a similar method for mounting in our Application Bulletin for mounting vibrating motors in flexible clothing:

AB-010: Mounting Vibration Motors to Flexible Materials & Clothing

Paralympian’s Kinaesthetic Awareness

This is a mix between the feelSpace concept we previously posted about in our Tech Blog and the MotivePro suit mentioned above. Students at Imperial College and the Royal College of Art have created clothing that gives haptic feedback to blind athletes about their orientation and movements.

The idea is to help the visually impaired develop better kinaesthetic awareness, therefore performing better during their Paralympic routines and events.

Female wearing a phone headset and sat in front of a desktop computer. In the background, other team members are sat at desks working.

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