Interpreting sport science data using 3D imaging and AI

By Professor Garenth Lim King Hann

The field of sports science is advancing rapidly with the use of new technologies to improve the way coaches and athletes interpret and analyse sports data. Technologies like 3D imaging and artificial intelligence (AI) are increasingly prevalent in the field, allowing data-driven decision making from multiple viewpoints to assist athletes in their performance training and enhancement. They are also providing coaches and athletes with new insights into sports performance, dramatically changing the way we approach sports data analysis.

The use of 3D imaging has revolutionised how we perceive athletes’ movements and techniques. Coaches and sports scientists can now capture detailed images and videos of athletes in action in 360-degree views. The 3D information allows coaches to observe occluded body segments or fast-moving action in multiple viewing angles with depth sensors.

Leveraging AI techniques, a complete 3D model can be constructed to allow coaches to identify the areas for improvement and develop more effective training programmes to avoid injury. Biomechanical 3D analysis allows analysing of an athlete’s movements and sports technique in the spatial-temporal domain as well as pinpointing the strengths and weaknesses of an athlete in a sequence of movements.

In addition, AI can be used to analyse vast amounts of multimodal data collected from various sensor technology. These data can give insights from the tracking of an athlete’s movements, measuring their physical exertion, and identifying patterns and trends in their performance.

With the help of AI algorithms, coaches and sports scientists can gain a better understanding of an athlete’s skillset development and adjust training programmes accordingly. It is thus a transformation from conventional experience-based decision-making to a more rational data-driven decision making using AI algorithm.

One of the biggest advantages of using AI in sports data analysis is the ability to analyse data in a quicker manner. Coaches can receive live updates on an athlete’s performance during a game or training session, allowing them to adjust on the fly. This can be particularly useful for coaches to make a quick decision in arranging a new training protocol and provide better strategic planning to improve the athlete’s and team’s performance.

One of the most exciting applications of AI and 3D imaging in sports is the creation of eXtended Reality (XR) training programmes. XR training extends a learner’s reality by merging the real world with digital materials or fully-simulated environments. Through XR training activities, learners can practice completing complex tasks and interacting with 3D objects in a safe, risk-free environment.

By creating realistic simulations of game situations, athletes can train in a controlled environment and develop their skills in a safe and controlled manner. XR training programmes can also be used to help athletes recover from injuries by allowing them to train in a low-risk environment.

AI and 3D imaging are transforming the way we interpret and analyse sports data. By providing coaches and athletes with new insights into their performance, they can develop more effective training programmes and improve their overall performance. As technology continues to advance, we can expect AI to play an even more significant role in sports science, enhancing the training experience and helping athletes reach their full potential.

Professor Garenth Lim King Hann is a professor and researcher in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Curtin Malaysia’s Faculty of Engineering and Science with expertise in 3D modelling, artificial intelligence, computer vision, and signal processing for various human-machine interactive applications. He has received internal and external funding totalling over RM1.8 million for his research, published over 100 journals and conference papers, and organised multiple national and international conferences. He pioneered a start-up named Ai3D PLT that develops AI and 3D algorithms for the sport science industry. Ai3D PLT aims to be the regional AI and 3D expert for industrial applications and its mission is to empower industrial solutions, automate data capturing, visualise big data, and enhance efficiency and productivity through technology integration. Prof. Lim can be contacted by email at