Scientific Research Assists Sports Industry:AIoT creates individual AI coach
Have you ever dreamed about playing badminton with Tzu-ying Tai, the international badminton queen, and Tien-Chen Chou, the badminton prince in Taiwan, or having them as your private coaches to teach you how to perform perfect and admirable skills? The dream may sound unachievable. However, with the help of AI (artificial intelligence)-assisted system, the dream will come true by high-tech analysis of swing trajectory and foodworks and the monitoring of fatigue indices when you are playing the sport. Such AI-based technologies and devices will help you improve your badminton skills scientifically and precisely, and become your “ubiqutious coach” via recording the whole training process.
The Department of Humanities and Social Sciences of the Ministry of Science and Technology in Taiwan promoted the project of “Precise Sports Science” in 2018. Dr. Chia-Liang Tsai, a principal investigator and a distinguished professor at National Cheng Kung University (NCKU), invited three professors, Dr. Jeen-Shing Wang at Department of Electrical Engineering of NCKU, Dr. Yi-Ju Tsai at Department of Physical Therapy of NCKU, and Dr. Yu-Liang Hsu at Department of Automatic Control Engineering of Feng Chia University, to organize an interdisciplinary and cross-school research group aiming to develop professional AIoT badminton training model. The innovative technologies and product development in this project focus on recording the badminton training process, which integrates diverse cutting edge technologies, including the intelligent badminton racket, the smart watch, the AI image recognition and AIoT technologies, and the cloud-based big data platform, to develop the first “AIoT badminton court overall solution” in Taiwan. The solution can improve the badminton training with digital transformation in which the built-in sensors can monitor the signals of swing motion, analyze every badminton techniques precisely, and catch the motion trajectory of the players’ upper and lower limbs when they enter into the badminton court. The data uploaded into a cloud-based big data platform will be calculated and analyzed through an AI technology, providing very essential sport performance index and training suggestions for coaches and players.
The new products generated by the research group are an important breakthrough, very different from the traditional experience-based training modes. With the aid of these high-tech products, the players are able to know the individual’s sport index via UCoach APP and to order a customized training program. In addition, coupled with a smart watch, the players can also have the data of their sleep quality and the levels of chronic fatigue. Through the above-mentioned precious information, players can obtain scientific and precise exercise training modes.
The research group is also collaborated with National Hsin-Feng Senior High School to build an experimental field to optimize the data collected from the AIoT badminton court. The golden standards of the badminton racket parameters, 3-D posture analysis, and players’ fatigue levels are set with high-precise optical systems and psychophysiological signals, respectively. At present, the experimental participants are the players from the badminton team at the National Hsin-Feng Senior High School. In order to optimize the data, the coaches are also invited to be members of the advisory committee. In the future, the AIoT badminton court system will be established in the National Sports Training Center at the end of the year to help the professional players with a more efficient training.
The commercialization of the self-developed technology has been working in progress with Victor Badminton Company, one of the two most famous badminton brands in the world, which has signed the Memorandum of Understanding with the NCKU research group. The sense module developed by the research group has been successfully integrated into the Victor high-class badminton racket (see Figure) and the patent application is working in progress. Moreover, in order to cultivate the players with badminton talents with the advanced deployment, the Victor Badminton Company will donate AIoT badminton rackets to the players in the badminton team of National Hsin-Feng Senior High School in June to enhance the experimental results gaining from the academic-industry cooperation.
In sum, the research group contributes to developing a AIoT and big-data collecting system for recording training/life history of badminton players continuously. The main purposes are to enhance the training quality and sport performances in badminton. Also, the core technologies developed and derived from the research will be transferred to the domestic industries in Taiwan to increase the competitive advantages of sports products in the international markets. In the future, the research group will also be proactive in collaborating with international sports teams to advance the application of the AI-based sports technology and further enhance the players’ sports performance. To commercialize the new products and transfer technology to the domestic or foreign corporations for creating the business opportunities are also the direction of the research group’s efforts.
Prof. Chia Liang Tsai
Institute of Physical Education, Health and Leisure Studies, National Cheng Kung University.