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Ms Aziah Ali, Mr Raza Ali, Dr Louis Atallah, Dr Adrian Chung, Dr Mohammed Elhelw, Ms Rachel King, Dr Benny Lo, Mr Douglas McIlwraith, Mr Julien Pansiot, Ms Surapa Thiemjarus, Dr Douglas Vieira, Dr Lei Wang, Ms Hannah Wells, Mr Oliver Wells and Professor Guang-Zhong Yang, Department of Computing, Imperial College London

Dr Omer Aziz and Professor Sir Ara Darzi, Department of Biosurgery and Surgical Technology, Imperial College London

Dr Scott Drawer, UK Sport

Dr Aki Salo, University of Bath

Discover how tiny computers can be used for health monitoring and training future UK medalists

Researchers from Imperial College London are developing miniature computers that could enable detailed and quantitative analysis of our fitness and health.
“Imagine computers as small as a pin head, but with enough power to carry out information processing, and affordable enough to be disposable,” says Professor Guang-Zhong Yang from Imperial College London. “As these inexpensive, flexible and customisable devices get more and more common, the computers themselves will gradually ""disappear"" into the fabric of our lives.”

Traditionally, the measurement of athlete performance is undertaken in laboratory settings, where comprehensive physiological and biomechanical parameters are monitored. Further performance characteristics are acquired during competition, mostly through observation and memory recall, to assess the effectiveness of the training strategy. It is, however, difficult for laboratory based methods to replicate the exact physical and mental environment of the athlete during competition.

The intelligent miniaturised body sensors could enable real-time monitoring of athletic performance, tailoring training programmes to the individual’s physical abilities and modifying them as the athlete improves.

“This technology is not in the realm of science fiction. It is developing very quickly,” says Guang-Zhong. “These body sensors could help train UK Olympic Athletes for 2008 and 2012.”