Athletic performance is influenced by the interaction between the athlete's biomechanical and physiological features, his/her equipment and the environment. The study and understanding of these interactions and their impact on performance requires a multi-disciplinary and multi-professional approach. This is stressed by the most recent publications on the subject and by the actual organisation of leading research groups worldwide.
Coherently with the above, the E4Sport Laboratory aims at becoming a landmark for the academics, professionals, public decision-makers interested in the contribution that engineering and design can offer to the understanding and improvement of athletic performance via:
- aggregating multi-disciplinary and multi-professional skills
- providing the Laboratory with state-of-the-art equipment
- innovating through the development of minimally-invasive sensors
- displaying an integrated vision of the athlete and the equipment in the sports environment
- "bridging" the gap between research and industry
- creating an "identity card for athletes", to increase their performance without causing injury
- supporting the design of innovative systems and equipment for performance and function
- System for the dynamic measurement of pressure than can accurately and reliably measure its distribution
- Portable metabolimeter for the application of sports sciences
- Testing machine for the characterisation of materials with high deformation speed/excitation frequency
The performance's assessment and the athlete-equipment-environment system's design are complex with regard to modelling and the need for objective measurements, especially in the settings in which athletes actually practise their sports activity. Dynamometric platforms and optoelectronic systems offer good results in a laboratory. However, new portable measurement systems are being currently developed, using the latest discoveries in the field of MEMS sensors, in the field of textiles for physiology measurements and wireless communication for measurements on the field. These sensors allow to take measurements in a minimally intrusive way and can therefore be "worn" by athletes during exercise in "real conditions". However, their reliability is still limited and they must first be checked via previous calibration against more traditional sensors, such as those used in laboratory settings.
Materials have an increasingly important role in the evolution of equipment that completes the athletes' performance. To adequately predict their contribution it is necessary to characterise their mechanical behaviour at high deformation speeds, which are more representative of the impulsive and dynamic phenomena that occur in real application conditions.
In addition to sensor-related science, it is crucially important to develop ecological protocols aimed at:
- identifying the identity card of athletes and assess the talent/natural inclination of younger athletes
- optimising the strategy and training for the athletes' safety and performance in "real contexts"
- optimising the equipment in relation to athletes and the environment
- motivating athletes, which is crucially important in explaining athletic performance that is not aligned with physical preparation
- building and enlarging longitudinal databases that allow to assess the cost-effectiveness, the safety of training strategies and the equipment used
- developing a strong data analysis method which refers to performance typically subject to incompleteness, errors, bias etc.
The E4Sport laboratory will supply services in all these fields.
The use of the equipment in the E4Sport laboratory will be subject to charges, which will depend on the Politecnico departments that are part of the Laboratory, other Politecnico departments and external users. Anyone wishing to use the equipment must put forward a request to the Laboratory contact.