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What’s on URA activities

From Tsukuba to the World

2014.05.29

Unit Name:
Sport Performance Research and Development
Unit representative:
Vice President in Charge of Education Michiyoshi Ae, Faculty of Health and Sport Sciences

Unit members:
12 (12 faculty members, 0 postdoctoral fellows, none from other organizations)

Key words:
sport science, physical education, health, research and development

 

In the Olympic and Paralympic Games, 0.01 seconds or 1 millimeter makes the difference between victory and defeat. Now we know that such a difference may also be due to equipment used by athletes. This research unit, Sport Performance Research and Development, focuses on this point, aiming to help Japanese athletes improve their performance and obtain medals in competitions, while using the technologies resulting from research activities to improve general people’s health and human performance, as well as contributing to Asian and other countries (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Characteristics of Our Research Projects

Figure 1: Characteristics of Our Research Projects

Sport Performance: Research and Development

Using the outcomes of studies on sport performance, we aim to provide a basis for the development of and research on training and conditioning methods. To support athletes engaged in intensive training daily to improve their performance, we examine optimal equipment for them to harness their ability to the fullest (photograph 1). For example, up to the present, we have studied and developed fencing grips and training devices to increase the speed of movement or strengthen the trunk and hip joint muscles (Figure 2).

Photograph 1: A Japanese representative fencing athlete undergoing an equipment needs assessment survey.

Photograph 1: A Japanese representative fencing athlete undergoing an equipment needs assessment survey.

Technologies for All People

When we wake up in the morning, we perceive our daily physical condition, such as “I feel tired ” or “I am in good shape today”. Favorable physical conditions frequently lead to favorable competition results. Therefore, in this research unit, techniques to record physical conditions and create databases have been developed and applied to equipment and devices, daily exercise methods, and health maintenance approaches not only for Olympic athletes to improve their performance, but also for general people to safely enjoy sports (Figure 2). In this respect, our focus is not limited to sport performance, but also covers human performance.

Figure 2: R&D Project Implementation Systems and Examples

Figure 2: R&D Project Implementation Systems and Examples

Social contributions and achievements
●Offering the equipment and devices developed through 22 research projects to Japanese athletes at the London Olympics 2012 for competitions and training
●Holding a press conference and reporting the outlines and progress of R&D projects on September 19, 2012 at the Tokyo Campus, University of Tsukuba
●Holding a conference entitled: How Has Japan Become a Women’s Sporting Power, on October 20, 2012 at the Japan Institute of Sports Sciences
●Holding a conference entitled: Latest Trends in Olympic-related R&D, to report the progress of research activities on March 28, 2013 in General Research Building D, University of Tsukuba

(Interviewed on May 16, 2013)


Research Administration/Management Office at U Tsukuba TEL 029-853-4434