(Oct. 30, 2013) -- In football, kicking is a fundamental and vital part of the game. The few points a kicker scores can make a critical difference in the outcome of a game. To help improve a football kicker's performance, University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) mechanical and bioengineering professor Yusheng Feng and seven students have developed the prototype components for a football kicking simulator designed to be a real-time training tool.
Sponsored by the UTSA Center for Simulation, Visualization and Real-Time Prediction (SiViRT) with funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Football Kicking Simulation and Human Performance Assessment is a virtual training system that uses real-time wireless feedback and computer sensing to measure football kicking mechanics data.
It gives a kicker the ability to practice either on or off the field and receive the same kind of attention to detail he would experience at a training camp. Moreover, the quantitative data collected from the football dynamics and kicker's body motion can not only be used to predict the accuracy of a kick, but also give feedback to maximize the kicking power while mitigating the risk of injury.
In particular, the prototype provides quantifiable measures to improve a football kicker's consistency and reliability by:
UTSA mechanical engineering undergraduate students Alyssa Schaefbauer, Cole Meyers, Jacob Kantor and Michael Lasch, kinesiology undergraduate student Ekow Acquaah, along with electrical and computer engineering graduate student Aaron Stout and computer science graduate student Ehren Biglari, have been developing and testing the virtual training system under the mentorship of Feng since February 2012.
"What sets our product apart from other kicking simulations is that we are using computer sensing and mathematical models to predict the football trajectory along with various training tools. It was designed specifically to be used for training rather than a form of entertainment, and it will be affordable," said Schaefbauer, the student team leader.
The group has been working with UTSA football place-kicker Sean Ianno and assistant coach Perry Eliano to test the simulator and make necessary adjustments for ideal training. In order to consider the human factors in training and coaching, they also are incorporating feedback from faculty members in the UTSA Department of Health and Kinesiology.
"The simulator is an awesome idea. Although it is not a finished product yet, it has the potential to be on the cutting edge of technology and quite possibly could revolutionize how kickers train," said Ianno.
"The kicking simulator is an incredible project and something I believe can be very beneficial not only for our kickers, but for kickers across the country," Eliano said. "I'm really humbled and thankful that the College of Engineering and their students who worked their tails off on this project chose us to be a part of it."
The research team has published two papers that were presented at the International Workshop on Computer Science in Sports and the Society for Modeling and Simulation International conference this summer.
"The football kicking simulator is a perfect example of how engineering and science can make improvements beyond the scientific arena, such as football, that are of interest to the greater community," said Feng. "It has been exciting to see these students develop into fine researchers who are determined to make a difference in society."
The research team has filed a patent application for the technology through the UTSA Office of Commercialization and Innovation and the team hopes to make the simulator commercially available for coaches and football teams to use as a training tool.
Established in August 2009 as a result of a $5 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the UTSA Center for Simulation, Visualization and Real-Time Prediction is a computation and visualization center that integrates high-performance computing into its activities, which include imaging, visualization, modeling and simulation to help faculty and student researchers investigate structural reliability, particle flow, nanotechnology, biomechanics, computational neuroscience and cancer treatment simulation.
The SiViRT Center aims to shape UTSA's research environment by creating and supporting first-hand collaborative research and design experiences for both undergraduate and graduate students year-round. It is an interdisciplinary research center where students can apply their knowledge through teamwork.
For more information regarding the licensing of this or any UTSA technology, email the UTSA Office of Commercialization and Innovation at email@example.com or call 210-458-6963.
The UTSA community welcomes students to their on-campus home! Laurel Village, Chaparral Village and Alvarez Hall are home for 2,300 students during the academic year, and Move-In event kicks off the start of Roadrunner Days.
Laurel Village, Chaparral Village, Alvarez Hall, Main Campus
The College of Engineering hosts this seminar featuring Jeff Adams, Southwest Zone Quality Manager, Siemens Building Technologies Division. The event is free and open to the public.
Engineering Building (EB 3.04.30), Main Campus
This is a terrific opportunity for incoming transfer students to network with staff that serve our veteran, non-traditional, and transferring students, as well as meet transfer peer mentors who can help answer questions about UTSA.
Main Building ground floor lobby, Main Campus
After a day full of moving and getting settled into their new UTSA home, students and their families can have some refreshments and snacks at the Welcome Back Reception. The event tops off with the premiere performance of the Spirit of San Antonio, UTSA's Marching Band.
University Center Paseo, Main Campus
Can you survive the library wilderness? As a part of Roadrunner Days, UTSA Libraries is hosting a mobile adventure for you to play and find out more about the library!
John Peace Library, 2nd floor, Main Campus
Come meet your UTSA Volleyball Team as they gear up for the 2017 season! The game begins at 5 p.m. then the team will hold an autograph and photo session after the game.
Convocation Center, Main Campus
This engaging discussion pulls back the covers on hooking up, clarifying when it’s actually sexual violence and how bystanders can protect potential victims from predators.
University Center, Retama Auditorium (UC 2.02.02), Main Campus
Late Night at the Rec is an awesome UTSA tradition that transforms a standard information session into an exciting night of fun. At this annual event, you’ll be able to learn about our facilities, recreation programs, and wellness services offered at Main and Downtown Campuses.
Recreation and Wellness Center, Main Campus
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