Kistler Instruments Ltd. - PRODUCT NEWS
FORCE PLATES HELP WELSH RUGBY SQUAD.
The Sport and Exercise Science Research Centre (SESRC) at Swansea University is using two Kistler 3-component force plates to measure muscle response in three dimensions at up to 2,000 (two thousand) times per second. After analysis, the data is used to define optimal training schedules for individual elite athletes. Jonathan Thomas (above) has 43 Welsh Rugby caps and recently benefited from the SESRC research when recovering from a knee injury. The force plates are used to monitor Jonathan's recovery to ensure he is fully fit before resuming full training.
The current state of this research is the result of three years work by Dr. Liam Kilduff, Nick Owen and Dan Cunningham with a wide range of elite sportsmen including the Welsh Rugby Union squad, the Ospreys and, more recently, Cardiff Blues and Bath Rugby teams and Swansea City FC. Although the primary objective of the research is to develop effective individual training regimens to meet specific sporting needs, an important spin-off is the ability to monitor injury recuperation allowing exercise and training programmes to be devised to minimise the recovery period whilst minimising the risk of aggravating the injury by excessive exercise or returning to full training and playing before the injury has fully repaired. Using the force platform, the research team is building a database of muscle responses of individual, fully fit athletes to provide an objective datum from which to judge injury recovery and monitor the effects of changes in training routines.
Typically, players are asked to perform a static jump on the Kistler force platform, which samples the applied force during both, take off and landing at 2 kHz. Analysis of the force profile allows the research team to pinpoint any weakness or imbalance in the athlete's muscle response in both compression and expansion phases. Using two force plates enables the team to monitor the muscle performance in each leg separately, especially important when the system is used to assess injury recovery.
Although the research programme was initially designed to provide diagnostic tests for elite sportsmen and women, Prof. Jim Watkins, the Head of SESRC, recently formed a team to use similar techniques to analyse balance in the elderly and Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) in young children.
The three areas of research; elite athletes, the elderly and children are all based on maximising the potential of the neuromuscular system to increase the muscle strength and power essential for maintaining good balance and coordination.
The key to much of the research at SESRC is the ability of the Kistler piezoelectric force plates to measure rapidly changing three-dimensional forces reliably and accurately over a long time scale with minimum maintenance.
Nick Owen B.Sc. (hons), M.Phil., M.inst.P., C.Phys.
Sport and Exercise Biomechanist
Sport and Exercise Science Research Centre
School of Human Sciences
Office: +44 (0)1792 513099
Fax: +44 (0)1792 513171
Web Site: http://www.swan.ac.uk/staff/academic/HumanSciences/owennick/
Kistler Instruments Limited
Established in Wintherthur (Switzerland) in 1957, Kistler is represented in over 50 countries and has subsidiaries in Germany, France, Italy, UK, Japan, USA, China, Korea and Singapore. With a staff of more than 800, the Kistler Group is one of the world's leading providers of dynamic measuring instrumentation. The Kistler Group achieved turnover of 160 million Swiss Francs in the 2005 financial year.
Kistler's core competence is the development, production and use of sensors for measuring pressure, force and acceleration. Kistler's know-how and electronic systems can be used to prepare measuring signals for use in analyzing physical processes, controlling and optimizing industrial processes, improving product quality in manufacturing and improving performance in sports and rehabilitation.
Kistler offers a comprehensive range of sensors and systems for engine development, automotive engineering, plastics and metal processing, installation technology and biomechanics.
Heavy investment in research and development, 15% of staff worldwide are engaged in research and development, has generated a number of innovations using piezoelectric, piezoresistive and capacitive techniques to provide solutions to numerous force, pressure and acceleration measuring problems. These innovations include the world's first commercial quartz sensor, two-wire constant current technology to integrate sensors with microelectronic circuitry, high-temperature pressure sensors for use up to 400 Deg C and three-component force measuring sensors.
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