Dr Kim Hébert-Losier is leading the way in New Zealand, and perhaps globally, by expanding the bounds of three-dimensional (3D) motion capture by taking sports performance testing outdoors. Typically, testing is done in the lab, but this doesn’t always suit the sport.
It all began in Sweden in 2012 when Dr Hébert-Losier began working outdoors with elite orienteering athletes and 3D motion capture. From there, she branched into 3D motion capture of athletes in the snow.
Recently her work has concentrated on a pilot project with a team of high-level rugby players in New Zealand. She has been analysing their place kicking mechanics through 3D motion out in the field. This footage enables Dr Hébert-Losier to analyse the kinetics and kinematics of athletes and then determine the key variables associated with the perfect kick.
“This pilot has been a win-win,” she says. “The athletes and coach have received valuable insights into their performance which will enable them to adapt their training regime.” The data can also be used for academic purposes at the University of Waikato (UoW) where Dr Hébert-Losier is a senior lecturer based at the UoW Adam’s Centre for High Performance at Mount Maunganui. The centre has eight 3D motion cameras that enable students and staff to carry out high-quality biomechanical research studies.
Aiding athletes to reach their peak performance using biomechanics is one of Dr Hebert-Losier’s main fields of research. Her unique outdoor approach to 3D motion capture has caught the attention of many, including Qualisys, a 3D motion capture company, which has invited her to speak at its first Asia Pacific User Group meeting this Monday in Tokyo, Japan. Her talk “Qualisys in Sports – Capture Performance Where it Matters” will cover her pioneering outdoor research.