A system to measure the kinematics during the entire ski jump sequence using inertial sensors
Three-dimensional analysis of the entire sequence in ski jumping is recommended when studying the kinematics or evaluating performance. Camera-based systems which allow three-dimensional kinematics measurement are complex to set-up and require extensive post-processing, usually limiting ski jumping analyses to small numbers of jumps. In this study, a simple method using a wearable inertial sensors-based system is described to measure the orientation of the lower-body segments (sacrum, thighs, shanks) and skis during the entire jump sequence. This new method combines the fusion of inertial signals and biomechanical constraints of ski jumping. Its performance was evaluated in terms of validity and sensitivity to different performances based on 22 athletes monitored during daily training. The validity of the method was assessed by comparing the inclination of the ski and the slope at landing point and reported an error of -0.2+/-4.8°. The validity was also assessed by comparison of characteristic angles obtained with the proposed system and reference values in the literature; the differences were smaller than 6° for 75% of the angles and smaller than 15° for 90% of the angles. The sensitivity to different performances was evaluated by comparing the angles between two groups of athletes with different jump lengths and by assessing the association between angles and jump lengths. The differences of technique observed between athletes and the associations with jumps length agreed with the literature. In conclusion, these results suggest that this system is a promising tool for a generalization of three-dimensional kinematics analysis in ski jumping.