11 Oct National ‘Sportinnovator’ Award for ‘sensor-bike’ project TU Delft
Today, dr. Daan Bregman, coordinator of the TU Delft Sports Engineering Institute, received this award for an innovative sports technology project on the Sportinnovator Event XL in Eindhoven. ‘Faster and safer cornering with the sensor bike’ was the title of the TU Delft project. By means of the measurement-cycle research, the TU Delft, together with Team Giant-Alpecin and Koninklijk Gazelle, aims to gather better insights into the inclination angle, the speed and the cyclist’s behaviour with regard to steering and braking on the one hand, and into bicycle stability on the other hand.
The Jury, consisting of representatives of sports federations, government, science and technology, decided to hand the National Sportinnovator Award – with a 30.000 Euro subsidy attached to it – to the ‘measurement-cycle’ project of the TU Delft because of the projects added value to both elite sports and society.
Photo: Wouter Roosenboom
The optimal descent
With the knowledge the TU Delft has on bicycle control, the researchers behind the winning idea try to increase the chances of winning in competitions, amongst other goals. Together with Team Giant-Alpecin, which partakes at the highest level of cycling, they will look at improving the descent technique of cyclists. The project consists of developing four identical measurement kits. With such a measurement kit, any bicycle can be transformed into a measurement-cycle, a ‘sensor bike’. The measurements provide insights into the inclination angle, the speed and the cyclist’s behaviour with regard to steering and braking. Via an app, the athletes and coaches receive feedback on decisions made during trial runs. This way, they can determine optimal steering and braking patterns.
In elite sports, details often prove to be critical. It’s no wonder that Teun van Erp, scientific expert of Team Giant-Alpecin, is happy with the opportunities the research provides. “The way in which a cyclist controls his bike can make the difference between winning or losing, both during a time trial or a descent. The difference between a good and a bad descender can be as much as seven seconds per kilometre”, he says. This ‘sensor bike’ is one of the concrete innovations that have arisen from the recently signed innovation partnership between the TU Delft and Team Giant-Alpecin.
At the same time, there is a 30% increase in the amount of bicycle-related accidents, especially as a result of bicycle instability for elderly people. Bicycle control and steering plays a crucial role here as well. That is why the TU Delft researchers are teaming up with Koninklijke Gazelle to develop a prototype self-stabilising bicycle, in order to analyse the cycling behaviour of elderly, with us of the sensor bike. This information is then integrated into the steering column by means of a small electric motor, that adjusts when the cyclists is about to fall. The system, based on smart algorithms, contributes to decreasing bicycle related falls and an active lifestyle for the elderly.
Photo: Koninklijke Gazelle / Royal Gazelle
The development of both prototypes builds on the scientific research into bicycle stability and control done at the TU Delft. The Sportinnovator subsidy provides the opportunity to develop earlier research into two physical products with an impact on both elite sports as society.
TU Delft new Sportinnovator centre
Today, the TU Delft Sports Engineering Institute was also declared a Sportinnovator centre. Such a centre is considered by the ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports and ZonMW, to be a meeting ground, where researchers, entrepreneurs, governments and sports organisations collaborate on the development of profitable innovations in sports. The centres are part of a cohesive network and together form the basis of the Sportinnovator ecosystem.
*Source: Stichting Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek Verkeersveiligheid (SWOV) / Foundation for Scientific Research Traffic Safety