Icesense proof of concept: Calibrating an instrumented figure skating blade to measure on-ice forces

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© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. Competitive figure skaters often suffer from overuse injuries, which may be due to the high impact forces endured during jump repetitions performed in practice and competition. However, to date, forces during on-ice figure skating have not been quantified due to technological limitations. The purpose of this study was to determine the optimal calibration procedure for a previously developed instrumented figure skating blade (IceSense). Initial calibration was performed by collecting data from the blade while 11 skaters performed off-ice jumps, landing on a force plate in the lab. However, mean peak force measurements from the blade were greater than the desired error threshold of ±10%. Therefore, we designed a series of controlled experiments which included measuring forces from a load cell rigidly attached to the top of the blade concurrently with strain data from the strain gauges on the blade. Forces were applied to the blade by adding weight to a drop tower or by manually applying force in a quasi-static manner. Both methods showed similar accuracy, though using the drop tower allowed precise standardization. Therefore, calibration was performed using the weighted drop method. This calibration was applied to strain gauge data from out-of-sample drop trials, resulting in acceptable estimates of peak force (less than 10% error). Using this calibration, we collected data on one figure skater and present results from an exemplar on-ice double flip jump. Using the IceSense device to quantify on-ice forces in a research setting may help inform training, technique, and equipment design.

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Sensors (Switzerland)

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