UMSI faculty win ESSI award to improve athletic performance

UMSI assistant professors Steven Oney, Michael Nebeling and Sun Young Park comprise one of four research teams chosen to receive a $200,000 pilot grant from the  University of Michigan's Exercise & Sport Science Initiative (ESSI). Launched in 2016, ESSI draws on the expertise of faculty from a wide range of disciplines across campus, Michigan Athletics and industry partners to optimize performance and health for people of all ages and abilities. 

Principal Investigator Steven Oney and his co-PIs, Michael Nebeling and Sun Young Park, proposed a plan to build a "data warehouse" that would enable recreational athletes, coaches and even fans to collect physical data from various sources, such as FitBits, smartwatches and phones in order to improve their performance. 

The project, End-user Techniques for Aggregating and Analyzing Exercise and Physical Data, aims to develop tools that will allow non-programmers to collect and integrate "big data" from multiple sensors. They could then  visualize, analyze and share these data and act on the collected data to improve athletic performance and training. Currently, none of these applications are possible without significant programming expertise and effort, the researchers say.

They anticipate that some of their users would be interested in maximizing their athletic performance, while others might be interested in fitness gains, and still others might be interested in rehabilitating or recovering from injuries. The researchers believe that if they are successful in working with recreational athletes, they may be able to apply their findings in more professional team settings as well. 

Sun Young Park

Proposals were submitted by researchers at all three U-M campuses, and included 13 schools, colleges and units on the Ann Arbor campus.

Posted April 20, 2017