Three-Dimensional Body and Centre of Mass Kinematics in Alpine Ski Racing Using Differential GNSS and Inertial Sensors
A key point in human movement analysis is measuring the trajectory of a person’s center of mass (CoM). For outdoor applications, differential Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) can be used for tracking persons since they allow measuring the trajectory and speed of the GNSS antenna with centimeter accuracy. However, the antenna cannot be placed exactly at the person’s CoM, but rather on the head or upper back. Thus, a model is needed to relate the measured antenna trajectory to the CoM trajectory. In this paper we propose to estimate the person’s posture based on measurements obtained from inertial sensors. From this estimated posture the CoM is computed relative to the antenna position and finally fused with the GNSS trajectory information to obtain the absolute CoM trajectory. In a biomechanical field experiment, the method has been applied to alpine ski racing and validated against a camera-based stereo photogrammetric system. CoM position accuracy and precision was found to be 0.08 m and 0.04 m, respectively. CoM speed accuracy and precision was 0.04 m/s and 0.14 m/s, respectively. The observed accuracy and precision might be sufficient for measuring performance- or equipment-related trajectory differences in alpine ski racing. Moreover, the CoM estimation was not based on a movement-specific model and could be used for other skiing disciplines or sports as well.