Sport Innovation/Accelerometers in Running/Introduction

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The application of accelerometers can be found in bridges, aircrafts, automobiles, helmets, computers and even mobile devices. Since the turn of the century, accelerometers are increasingly being widely used in sport. This has improved the capability to improve sport performance like never before. This project will explore the technology and implications it has to running.


  • An accelerometer is a device that measures acceleration (Williams & Rawat, 2008). Acceleration is the rate of change of velocity and is proportional to the resultant force acting on a mass, according to Newton’s second law of motion. The SI unit of acceleration is meters/second2 (m/s2), however it is also commonly expressed in g- force (g).


  • George Atwood invented the very first accelerometer in the 1700s. The Atwood machine, as it was called, consists of masses on springs where the velocity is calculated based on displacements experienced. Over the years, technology has evolved to the use of resistance-bridge type accelerometers in the early 1920s, followed by the use of piezoelectric accelerometers commonly used today (Walter, 1999). More on the mechanism can be found here.


Application to endurance running