For the world's elite athletes, sometimes training tips come from the oddest places.
For a group of 2012 Olympians from the U.S., help came in the form of computer vision software. BMW, a sponsor of the U.S. Olympic Committee, has formed its own Performance Team: a set of 10 athletes who will benefit from the company's financial support--and engineering expertise.
Darren Liccardo, a senior technology engineer for BMW, said they'll be using technology that is usually tested in its automobile safety systems. But this time, the tech will be applied to athletic performance.
“We take the video data from the system and do specific analysis in a very intelligent way,” he said. “We use computer-vision analysis. ... We want to take the analysis to the next level to provide real-time feedback."
So far, the company has worked with track and field athletes to improve form, speed and more. The Olympians benefit from real-time intelligent video feedback. For Bryan Clay, a 2008 Olympic champion, technology like this makes a huge difference in his training.
The computer vision can help him fine-tune his technique in, for example, his javelin training. BMW’s analysis can tell Clay and his coach exactly how fast his arm and the javelin are moving.
“Real-time data is hugely important for someone like me,” Clay told the Tucson Citizen. “For an athlete who’s a little older, I get to train smarter.”