Irish student wins European Young Scientist Award

27 Sep 2011

The winner of the BT Young Scientist Award earlier this year – Castleknock College’s Alexander Amini who developed a Tennis Sensor Data Analysis tool – has picked up the top prize in the 23rd European Union Contest for Young Scientists.

Amini’s science project was in the top three selected by an international jury from among the 87 projects from 37 countries in the EU contest. The other two projects are from Switzerland and Lithuania. The prize winners – all under the age of 21 years – will share prize money totalling € 51,500.

Teams from Germany, the UK and Bulgaria were awarded second prizes. Third prizes went to teams from Norway, Poland and the UK.

Alexander Amini’s prize winning project called “Tennis Sensor Data Analysis” is an automated system for macro motion refinement.

Sensors capable of capturing audio, video, and inertial data (such as accelerometers, gyroscopes, and magnetometers) have become so inexpensive, they are often found in smart phones and even remote control toys. However, it is not easy to correlate the performance of an athlete to the huge volumes of raw data captured by such sensors.

Software identifies 13 different tennis stroke types

In this study, Alexander Amini collected and analysed gigabytes of tennis sensor data. He discovered a technique for automatically distinguishing between 13 different tennis stroke types (e.g., distinguishing a forehand flat versus forehand topspin) using only inertial data with accuracy averaging over 96pc, and implemented his technique as computer software.

Previously published research was limited to classes of motion (such as forehand, backhand, serve).

His findings are relevant to a wide variety of motion assessment scenarios in sports, physical therapy, and emergency responses.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years