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Customer Profile

Industry: Sports
Use case: Measuring Archery Technique

The Italian Archery Foundation (FITARCO) was interested in capitalizing on 221e’s wearable sensor solutions to develop solutions that would help Olympic-level archers improve their techniques.
FITARCO’s objective was to find out if it is possible to characterize the pressure point of the hand on the grip of the bow from a purely biomechanical point of view. The case study focused on elite athletes who have competed at the Olympic level and are interested in improving their archery techniques based on data collected with intelligent wearable sensors.

FITARCO is the Italian archery federation and is part of the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI) providing discipline, regulation and management of national sports activities. The federation coordinates the national team top athletes and all official activities from trainers to sport enthusiasts at all levels.

The goal of the collaboration was to develop and prototype a non-invasive, wearable solution for measuring speeds, accelerations, and hand grip orientation, as well as to determine the pressure between the hand and the grip of a recurve bow.

The positioning of the archer’s hand and the pressure point applied to the grip are difficult to interpret because they cannot be directly observed by the technician. They are perceptual aspects of the archer. Verbal feedback is therefore the only way to modify and improve the archer’s technique in terms of the bow’s response after the release and the impact of the arrows on the target.

The development of a non-invasive, wearable device capable of measuring the aforementioned variables and pressure point on the grip of the bow during the gesture itself, without altering it in any way, was essential.

Providing a theoretical and practical tool to evaluate the athlete’s technique throughout the shooting gesture could prove useful to trainers and athletes themselves for two reasons:

  • Improvement of shooting technique based on objective data and quantitative performance evaluation.
  • Evaluation of “proper” handling that promotes a comfortable and natural posture, reducing potential muscle contractions and resulting injuries.

Archery is a high-accuracy, high-precision sport. Athletes try to land their arrows as close to the target as possible, and not only that, but they also strive to repeat or improve those results with each shot. 221e’s miniaturized sensing solutions were in line with the call to design and prototype such a non-invasive, wearable solution. The system would have to be outfitted to measure variables that contribute to an archer’s shooting technique when handling a recurve bow.

This project is one that pushed our motion sensors to their limits of repetitive accuracy to provide elite athletes with data and insights that would help them fine-tune their technique.

Since any change in balance or hand position can affect performance, one of the challenges was to ergonomically incorporate the sensors into the bow and correctly position them on the athletes’ hands.

The 221e team adopted the MITCH platform that combines an inertial measurement unit (IMU) and a Force-Sensitive-Resistor (FSR) membrane providing perfectly synced data.

Using information from the sensors, we applied NeuraActive™ pattern recognition and our event detection AI software to identify each phase specific to archery. The results obtained provide information about the timing of each phase, the stability of the archer (compared to previous shots), and finally a unique motion tracking profile pattern.

These results show the potential of the system and illustrate invaluable biomechanical information closely related to shooting technique. The results obtained and the proposed measurement instrument provide a solid basis to promote a scientific approach to archery. With such an instrument, a fundamental aspect of the shooting sequence can be objectively evaluated without altering the athlete’s gesture in any way.

Moreover, it forms the basis for the development of other platforms of this type. These can be applied to other sports with the intent of deepening the study of movement biomechanics and improving the techniques of athletic gesture techniques, reducing possible injuries.

This collaboration which has been screened by the Italian Archery Federation (FITARCO), is available for use by archers, and the published research can be found here.

“The collaboration with 221e and the participation of the Olympian Mauro Nespoli in this research allowed us to understand the role of the support and the pressure point of the hand on the grip of the bow. These parameters, otherwise “invisible” to the technician, were exclusively perceptible to the athlete. Thanks to the application of 221e’s IMUs and pressure sensors, we were able to measure these parameters qualitatively and quantitatively.”

Mariaraffaella Motta – Level IV Archery Coach Trainer