TOKYO, May 10 – The Japan Windsurfing Association, Fujitsu Limited, and Lapis Semiconductor Co., Ltd. today announced the start of IoT-based field trials to improve the sailing skills of windsurfers. The trials will extend over about five months, from May 11 through September 30, 2017.
In this field trial, a device that can simultaneously record GPS and sensor data across nine-axes sensor data from an accelerometer, gyrometer, and geomagnetic sensor unit developed by Lapis Semiconductor, will be attached to windsurfing sails. The recorded data from these sensors will be analyzed using a Fujitsu cloud service, providing visual 3D models and graphs of the movements of the sail.
This technology, for the first time in windsurfing, makes possible the use of data to understand sail handling, allowing competitors to compare their data with those who are higher-ranked to enable discovery of ways to improve their sailing skills by looking at differences in handling in 3D models and numerical values.
Efforts in this project are now moving forward under the name of Project Windsurfing Lab. Initially, members of the Japan Windsurfing Association will be recruited to participate in this trial, with the goal of raising the level of windsurfing in Japan and promoting its spread through the use of this technology in training by players and coaches, and through trials and demonstrations at tournaments sponsored by the Japan Windsurfing Association.
Windsurfing has a number of classes of competition, including those based on speed and those based on technique, such as tricks. Because the skill of the competitor’s control of how the sail catches the wind can have a significant impact on results, the technique of adjusting the angles (rake angle, kite angle, pull angle) at which the sale and wind interact is incredibly important.
Currently, in windsurfing practice, training can involve using GPS equipment to check overall movement, and videos can be used to give guidance, but a great deal of sail control depends on experience, which makes scientific analysis also useful in sailing skill acquisition and the improvement of techniques. Now sail handling can be numerically quantified, and it is expected that combining this with data, such as speed data, and analyzing it will lead to ideal sail control.
Field Trial Summary
1. Trial Period
May 11-September 30, 2017
May 11-16: Demo exhibition at the Fly! ANA Windsurfing World Cup in Yokosuka
Beginning of June: Start of field trials with selected trial participants. Thereafter, demo exhibitions and experiences are planned as needed at competitions sponsored by the Japan Windsurfing Association.
September 30: Verification of trial results
3. Trial Subjects
Member athletes of the Japan Windsurfing Association
(Non-members can participate in the demo exhibitions and hands-on events)
4. Method Summary
Sensors will be loaned to selected competitors and coaches, checking a competitor’s sailing form and revealing places they can improve, using an application provided by Fujitsu that displays the data for analysis. In addition, Fujitsu will use AI technology such as machine learning to analyze the sailing data collected in the cloud, using experimental methods to lead to optimal sailing.
1. Accurately Understanding Sail Handling
A miniature sensor node device, incorporating both a GPS sensor and nine-axes movement sensor data, is attached to the sail, simultaneously records both the angles of sail movement (rake angle, kite angle, pull angle) and the speed and course of the board, and uploads that data to the cloud. The data collected in the cloud will be subjected to an analysis, eliminating the influence (vibration noise) of things like waves, using an attitude estimation algorithm also used in attitude control for robots and drones, calculating accurate angles.
This makes it possible to analyze comparisons between sail movement at various times in the context of the speed and direction of the board. Going forward, if it were thought necessary to collect other data, such as the body position of the competitor, during the course of the field trial, integrated data analysis could easily be done just by adding sensors.
2. Providing effective training using visualizations such as 3D models
The analyzed data can be checked by switching between a variety of display formats, including 3D models, numeric values, graphs, and oceanic maps. With this technology, competitors can objectively evaluate their sailing ability through the movements of 3D models and numerical values, and compare their data with that obtained from higher-ranked competitors, with the goal of improving their sailing skills.
About Each Organization’s Role
Japan Windsurfing Association
The Japan Windsurfing Association, which runs Japan’s windsurfing competitions, will provide space for this field trial and recruit competitors to participate, promoting and evaluating its use in improving the sailing skills of Japanese competitors. It is also undertaking promotional activities in order to raise the level of Japanese windsurfing and expand the number of people competing.
Fujitsu will analyze the various types of sensor data collected in the cloud, providing an application that will analyze and display it as meaningful data. The application will visualize this data in 3D models and graphs, supporting improvements in windsurfing technique.
Lapis Semiconductor has developed the WindHack and WindHack Pro sensor boards for use in this field trial, in order to improve windsurfing technique, using the Lazurite IoT reference design, and provided them for this field trial.
Going forward, the organizations plan to collect not only the handling of the sail, but also data such as the movements of the board and competitor’s body. After reviewing the results of the approximately five month long field trial, the companies will consider offering the technology as a service.