Queenslanders will get the elite athlete experience with a new training simulator designed to emulate track cycling at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy Leeanne Enoch and Minister for Sport Mick de Brenni today (Monday) announced the training simulator was one of three sporting innovations backed by the Palaszczuk Government.
Ms Enoch said the three innovations will share in $300,000 from the Advance Queensland Sport Science Challenge.
One hundred thousand dollars will each go to Griffith University to develop a virtual reality training simulation for cyclists and fans based on the 2018 Commonwealth Games track; Fusion Sport will develop a modular suite of athlete health and performance monitoring tools, and McBride Brown and Partners will create an interactive 3D coaching app for athletes.
Ms Enoch said the recipients would work with sporting and industry partners to refine their high-tech offerings over the next year so they are ready for market.
“The Advance Queensland Sports Science Challenge was designed to support Queensland’s entrepreneurial talent, with sports-related innovations that will have flow-on benefits for all Queenslanders,” Ms Enoch said.
“Technology like this can give our elite athletes the edge and reinforce Australia’s reputation for outstanding sporting achievement, but also promote healthy and active lifestyles through greater participation in sport and exercise which is so vital to improving the health of our people.”
Mr de Brenni said technology like the simulator could one day be as common-place as fitness trackers are now.
“It has some exciting implications for the future of sport, since it enhances the competitiveness of our elite athletes who measure improvements in their performance in milliseconds and for whom the tiniest of margins can mean the difference between winning and losing,” Mr de Brenni said.
“If this technology can help everyday Queenslanders to have a go and take up a new form of exercise, then we’re on to a winner.”
The simulator combines a virtual reality headset with bespoke software and a special stationary cycle to visually experience riding on the 2018 Commonwealth Games velodrome.
Commonwealth Games athletes helped record the track at the Chandler Velodrome, providing a realistic benchmark and supporting an authentic training experience.
Leigh Ellen Potter, director of the Innovative Design and Emerging Applications Lab at Griffith University, said the introduction of this innovative technology will help coaches and athletes explore new areas of performance.
“For cyclists preparing for the Commonwealth Games, it is capable of integrating real and virtual data while providing the sights and sounds of competing at a world-class competition.
“It creates an immersive, realistic training simulation with real-time feedback to prepare and train elite athletes,” Dr Potter said.
Fusion Sport’s Markus Deutsch said their existing SMARTABASE platform will play a central role in the Commonwealth Games in 2018, and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, as the athlete management system for all Australian athletes.
“This new funding for a platform that targets a broader market will mean junior athletes coming into the elite system in the years to come will bring with them a valuable data history to help optimise their future development,” Dr Deutsch said.
McBride Brown and Partners are working with Little Athletics Queensland to develop an app to help coaches train and motivate our youngest athletes.
Leon McBride, co-founder of McBride Brown and Partners, said their interactive and technically-accurate 3D technology would be useful for coaches and athletes, ranging from beginner to elite level.
“It’s so important to motivate and encourage participation in sport at a young age as it lays the foundation for developing performance at higher levels and also helps to promote athletics as a fun, healthy and social lifestyle,” Mr McBride said.
To learn more about the Sport Science Challenge recipients, visit the Advance Queensland website. Advance Queensland is the Palaszczuk Government’s $420 million whole-of-government initiative, supporting jobs across a range of industry sectors.
Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy and Minister for Small Business
The Honourable Leeanne Enoch