Research teams from across campus will share $800,000 in awards to explore projects ranging from elderly mobility and athlete hydration to wearable sensors and concussion diagnosis.

The University of Michigan Exercise and Sport Science Initiative awarded funding to six teams as part of its second round of pilot grants.

Launched in 2016, ESSI draws on expertise from a wide range of faculty across campus, Michigan Athletics and industry partners to optimize physical performance and health for people of all ages and abilities.

“The world of exercise and sport is transforming because of new advancements in science and technology,” said Ron Zernicke, professor of kinesiology, orthopaedic surgery and biomedical engineering. “We have to adapt by integrating the perspectives of multiple disciplines, which will ultimately lead to improvements in health, wellbeing and performance.”

Zernicke co-directs ESSI with Ellen Arruda, the Maria Comninou Collegiate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, and professor of mechanical engineering, biomedical engineering, and macromolecular science and engineering.

Proposals were submitted by researchers at all three U-M campuses, and included nine schools, colleges and units on the Ann Arbor campus, ranging from kinesiology and engineering to pharmacy and design.

All projects reflect the five grand research challenges identified by ESSI: improved physical activity across the lifespan; wise wearable sensor technology; injury prevention, diagnosis and management; individualized augmented reality and virtual reality; and sport and learning analytics.

The ESSI scientific advisory committee selected the following six research projects:

Sensor technology and complex analytics to assess, monitor and predict injury in elite baseball pitchers

Team: Cristine Agresta (School of Kinesiology and Institute for Social Research), Stephen Cain (College of Engineering), Rich Gonzalez (LSA, Stephen M. Ross School of Business, ISR and CoE) and Michael Freehill (Medical School)
Goal: Researchers aim to develop a practical day-to-day monitoring protocol and measurement system that can be used to quantify dynamic pitching capacity and injury.

A data-driven, non-invasive approach for monitoring hydration status in athletes

Team: Kathleen Sienko and Jenna Wiens (CoE)
Goal: Researchers aim to design and assess a noninvasive technique for real-time monitoring of hydration status in athletes during periods of activity, such as games and practice.

Wearable-based physiological sensing to promote the elderly’s mobility

Team: SangHyun Lee (CoE) and Philippa Clarke (School of Public Health and ISR)
Goal: Researchers aim to develop and test a wearable-based physiological and collective sensing framework that detects the elderly’s distress in the built environment without substantially interfering with their daily life.

Concussion diagnosis: Beyond “How many fingers am I holding up?”

Team: Steven Broglio (Kinesiology and Medical School), Mohammed Islam (CoE), Ioulia Kovelman (LSA), Alex Rogers (Medical School) and Xiaosu Hu (Center for Human Growth and Development)
Goal: Researchers aim to develop a novel brain measure protocol allowing for a non-invasive assessment of oxidative metabolism concussion biomarkers that will help with both the concussion diagnosis and aid in the return-to-play decision making process.

A projection-based augmented reality system for inclusive recreational sports and performance tracking

Team: Roland Graf (Penny W. Stamps School of Art and Design), Sun Young Park (Stamps School and School of Information) and Hun Seok Kim (CoE)
Goal: Researchers aim to design and evaluate a projection-based augmented reality system that can facilitate shared physical and social play experiences for people with disabilities and their able-bodied peers.

Wearable optical sensor platform for multiplexed sweat chemical monitoring

Team: Xuewei Wang (LSA), Pei-Cheng Ku (CoE)
Goal: Researchers aim to provide a novel and unique platform for sweat chemical monitoring to provide early warning of an abnormality in body health, to assess performance during physical training and to test the effectiveness of certain sports drinks or medications.