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Summary of Jump/Timing devices

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  • Summary of Jump/Timing devices


    Here are the summary findings of jump/timing systems. We were looking
    for prepackaged
    solutions for testing jump height, jump parameters (e.g., contact time,
    repeated jump
    power tests), and could do additional testing like whole body reaction
    time. We are looking
    to replace our broken NewTest Powertimer.

    There appear to be three basic types of equipment; (1) jump/contact
    mats, (2) optoelectronic
    switches, and (3) accelerometry.

    Jump (contact) Mat Systems
    Standard stand alone contact mats are available in the USA and abroad,
    for example the JustJump

    Or "JumpMat":

    Though relatively inexpensive compared to the other devices, contact
    mats also have fewer
    capabilities and do not seem to be able to be integrated with other
    devices such as timing
    lights. People using these devices tended to also use separate timing
    light systems, such
    as Brower SpeedTrap, or radar guns.

    More complex systems, i.e., similar to the Powertimer, include the
    Kinematic Measurement
    System (KMS) from Fittech ( ) and the SmartJump and
    SmartSpeed systems.
    Both systems use a contact mat and light switches and use a PC for data
    According to one user of the KMS, "We use ours for sprint timing and
    agility testing. We don't
    use the contact mat so much unless we have to test someone out in the
    field. For lab work we
    use their portable forceplates because you get much more data e.g.
    force, impulse and power. "

    Similarly, is the SmartJump and SmartSpeed Systems
    One biomech-l'er commented, "We had a demo of the SmartSpeed system, it
    seemed very
    impressive with a range of features and integrated with their jump
    system but it did not really
    meet our needs and is fairly expensive.

    Optoelectonic Devices
    New to me was the Optojump system.
    This system has 1 m bars laid on the ground parallel to one another. The
    bars have optoelectronic
    switches running along them at 1 cm resolution. According to one user,
    "We use the optojump to
    do field measurements of F, V and P in athletes with the simple method
    attached, and we really
    enjoy using it. The typical set is 2 bars of 1-m set apart (another
    advantage is that you jump "freely"
    between the bars, so very useful in field conditions; but you can add
    meters (we have 5-m in our lab,
    and we know colleagues in switzerland using a 20-m set to study running."

    Another user said, "For the running test it has the advantage to measure
    also the contact time of
    the foot at each stride). The main disadvantage of the optojump system
    is that you can use it only
    on even surfaces. It is impossible to use it on a football field, for
    example. I struggled a bit in using
    it on a gymnastic tumbling, too. Other limitation, to use the Optojump
    you need a laptop.


    Also new to me was the Sensorize system ( ), which
    includes the FreePower
    and FreeSense systems. Essentially these are wearable triaxial inertial
    sensors. One person
    said, " I saw it once, and it seems a very smart product. It is an
    accelerometer that can be used
    for a number of tests such as running and jumping. It is wireless,
    telemetric, small and light.
    Apparently has very nice software, too. I am not sure, but it could be
    that it is also waterproof."
    Another person said, "FreePower is wearable, hence the evaluation can be
    carried out on any
    surface. All the parameters you mentioned can be obtained using this
    system. We have such
    a system in our department." I wish I could get more technical data
    from these folks, as it
    seems that this technology would be limited in what information it could

    Additional Comments

    The multiple capability devices are expensive. (So was our original
    Powertimer). Most do not
    put prices on the websites, but required emailing for the info. (I have
    not yet received
    full price lists, so it would be imprudent to provide prices here.) I
    was not happy with most of the
    websites, which provided little information that I would consider
    important, such as resolution and
    reliability data. I'm still working on gathering these data.

    Thanks to all who submitted information, and will be glad to hear from
    others about the devices
    you use.

    Jeff Ives

    Jeffrey C. Ives, Ph.D.
    Professor and Graduate Program Chair
    Dept. Exercise& Sport Sciences
    Ithaca College
    Ithaca, NY 14850 USA

    Phone: 607.274.1751