Motion Tracking in Field Sports


JOHAN Sports develops a performance monitoring system for field sports. By accurately tracking the motion of sports players, insight is gained in the intensity of a match or training session. This information is used by the coach to optimize the training program for each player. By doing so, injuries are prevented and all players are top fit on match day.

The graduation project of Matthijs Roobeek focuses on tracking player motion using a GPS receiver, an Inertial Measurement Unit and a magnetometer. In his studies (Systems & Control) this principle is called state estimation; from a motion model and sensor readings, the state of the system (e.g. a robot) is estimated. Since the tracking devices have to be affordable and wearable, relatively cheap MEMS sensors are used. Furthermore, sports players tend to move dynamically and unpredictable. And since no two sports players have the same body, it isn’t straightforward to define an accurate motion model. This makes for a challenging graduation project!

JOHAN Sports is in the European Space Agency business incubation program. Being in this program allows you access to technical support from ESA employees and their equipment. This enabled me to use the VICON Motion Capture system from the ESA Telerobotics Lab to perform validation experiments, which is shown in the picture. With infrared cameras and retroreflective markers, this system accurately tracks an object’s position and orientation, creating a very useful reference signal for my sensor fusion algorithms!
Master thesis Matthijs Roobeek