High-Speed Vision and DAQ Synchronization

Data Acquisition from Force Plate
The AccuPower software is a great application for using a force plate. The interface is user-friendly and reliable for collecting data. Bottom line… it takes the complicated and makes it simple for any folks and practitioners to collect reliable information.

Challenge

AccuPower Solutions provides athletic and medical performance measurement solutions. They had a great product, but it had separate workflows for data acquisition, video capture and data analysis. They needed a solution that would integrate high speed USB force measurement with high speed video and rapid analysis of the acquired data. Because they would put the solution in front of high-profile customers it had to look great too.

Solution

We coupled Basler ace cameras with AMTI force plates for an acquisition solution. Streaming data to file at such a high rate was a difficult challenge; we used datalog files to allow fast read and write access at random positions. We partnered with a graphics designer to put together a UI that integrated with AccuPower's branding.

Introduction

AccuPower provides high-speed video and data solutions to professional and collegiate athletics teams, physical therapists and performance training specialists. Their products help clinicians diagnose patients to help rehabilitate and improve their bodies and athletic performance. To evaluate and diagnose accurately, they needed to couple high speed data acquisition with high speed video and data analysis tools. They previously had a product that worked, but there were problems caused by the separate workflows and not having synchronized data acquisition.
The AccuPower product in use at the NHL combine.
There were some small technical challenges like integrating with the AMTI amplifiers and understanding the math behind athletic performance measurements, but the primary technical challenge for this project was the huge amount of data. The AccuPower software can capture FHD (1920x1080) video at up to 150 fps from five cameras simultaneously. The potential 2.5 Gbps data rate was the primary challenge. This was such a staggeringly large amount of data that we had to:

1. Carefully structure the way that the USB devices were connected to make sure data could still synchronize, balancing among USB controllers on the target computer.
2. Structure data within the application carefully to avoid unnecessary memory operations.
3. Record the data to file in a structure that could be quickly written and read for synchronized playback and analysis.
athlete jumping from force plate

Process

The first leg of our work focused on a technology demonstrator to show that we could interface the various hardware and software components to capture live data, save it to file and analyze it for segments of the jump.
As work progressed we expanded the number of analyses to include a number of different jump types. Some of the analyses were tailored for AccuPower's clients in professional athletics. We added hardware interfaces for serial, USB, single and dual plates. We added a flavor that acquired similar data from a treadmill. A single camera progressed to two and then to five cameras. We also expanded analyses to have more advanced reporting functions including reports for individual athletes and teams.

Results

Datalog files were a solution that is very memory-efficient and allows fast read and write access at random positions. Because we were able to integrate the data acquisition with the high-speed video in an efficient way, Accupower has been able to maintain good customer relationships and satisfy the needs of over 50 universities around the worlds and over 15 professional sports teams or institutions. Their customers can collect extraordinary amounts of data about their athletes and how they move, recover, and improve.

Benefits

  • Reliable, high-speed data and video
  • Prompt data analysis
  • Glossy, customer-facing UI

Hardware

Software Modules

  • LabVIEW
  • IMAQdx
  • NI Vision Development Module
  • NI Serial

Contact Endigit to get started with your high-speed vision solution.