Friday, December 21, 2012

Can Science Help You Serve like the Pros? . . . Welcome to "The Ghost"

Sport scientists working to improve athletic performance have engineered a training device called "The Ghost".

Originally developed to help blind athletes swim, it can be adapted to help tennis player performance, they say.

What is "The Ghost"? And how does it work?

It's literally a mechanized, bionic "vibrating sleeve" worn on your arm and intended to elevate your serve - perhaps to the level of the pros.

It's loaded with sensors to detect the flex and movement of your joints and muscles.

And it's programed to flash LED lights and set off vibrations, when appropriate.

Here's how it works.

The arm movement path of a top tennis professional is digitally recorded - let's say that of Andy Murray when he is performing a world-class serve.

The digital program is then uploaded into the bionic sleeve.

A practicing player wears the sleeve and tries to "ghost" or mimic the Murray serve.

Soft LED lights and gentle vibrations go off whenever the player's arm path even slightly misses the mark - namely, the path of the perfect Murray serve.

With careful and deliberate repetition by the user, the bionic sleeve smoothly guides the player's arm path into a professional level serve.

Can it work?

Benedict Topping thinks so. He's the engineer at Imperial College at London whose team developed the prototype of "The Ghost".

Referring to the serve of an Andy Murray or even the golf swing of a Tiger Woods, Topping comments: "People can train by literally copying the movements
of elite athletes."

Topping and his engineers believe it can engrain "muscle memory" - unconscious precision movement through repeated practice.



Source Credit:

Vibrating sleeve could help teach Andy Murray's serve, The Telegraph, September 02, 2012

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