So your first question is: what makes figur8 different from other motion analysis systems?
Imagine a small-town high school football coach. He’s been at this for 20 years, and his team has gone to state competitions enough times to prove that he’s an asset to the program. It’s the first day of practice for the incoming freshmen. The coach sees that the green bar on his phone app is now red. He is alerted to the fact that the Center has a change in muscle performance output. As new players go through the drills, he walks over and asks the Center if his left leg is bothering him in some way. The player’s data demonstrate that he is relying more on his right quadriceps muscles than those of his left leg during the drill. The coach knows that this may indicate a muscle cramp or injury, which lowers the Center’s blocking power. The coach receives another alert and yells to the Quarterback, “Turn your hips faster.” He knows that doing so will help the Quarterback throw longer. He does this for all his players.
This coach is valuable because in addition to his experience he can now pick out, with his new coaching tool, muscular microexpressions of movement that the human eye cannot detect.
Microexpressions are tiny, nuanced motions that can have profound effects on how well a muscle is able to perform in concert with the surrounding muscle group. Microexpressions are detected from data collected from the body’s motion and are compared to cumulative knowledge of human body motion, an area of study called biomechanics.
Our coach here is doing two things for his players. The first is helping them prevent injury over the course of the season and their careers. Since muscles act in pairs across bone and connective tissue, the overaction of one side can injure the other. Touching your thumb to your shoulder mainly requires the biceps muscles, but the triceps have work to do also. It is a hard and fast rule in biomechanics that, in any repetitive motion, the weaker muscle of a pair sustains the injury. Ensuring proper muscle activation with good athletic form will strengthen the pair together, preventing injury.
The coach is also trying to get his players to maximize the energy that comes from their movements. The difference between a good player and a great one is form. Two players can produce similar force output, but the one who performs better is the one with better form. More efficient movement offers protection from injury, a critical key to longevity in a sport.
figur8 has developed sensors that attach to the body, giving real-time neuromuscular feedback. No other motion capturing system can do this. It allows athletes and physical therapists to fine-tune muscular microexpressions of movement in order to get the maximum benefit from activity. Whether used by a ballet dancer seeking perfect symmetry in muscle activation or someone looking to cure their chronic back pain, figur8 stretch sensors act like a well-seasoned coach, someone who knows all the subtleties of 3D body movement and the effects it can have on the body and performance.