The Paralympic games, set just weeks after the Olympics and run in the same stadiums in Rio give a chance to a whole other group of impressive athletes to demonstrate their skill. But one of the challenges that comes with being a Paralympian is training equipment suited for their sport. Cyclists and runners may have treadmills to train with when the weather is bad, but wheelchair racers don’t, until now.
BAE Systems and UK Sport Technology have teamed up to create an indoor training system that allows wheelchair racers to workout and train indoors.
The machine is called a WATT, Wheelchair Athlete Test and Training system and it allows athletes to basically replicate the workout they may get outside. Henry White, BAE Systems UK Sport Technology Partnership Lead, is excited about their creation, “The new WATT System is a ground-breaking advancement in wheelchair racing, and a product that we’re proud to be able to off athletes.”
The whole system is made of an adjustable frame and two electric motor brakes that can create varying levels of resistance on the wheels. The system has built-in BAE Systems’ bespoke software, which is a customizing software, in this case it is customized for British athletics. The software can simulate courses from all over the world, working with both the screen to visualize the course and the brakes to created the resistance in the course.
Athletes can also use it to measure and record their performance as well as compare their times or speed to the online leaderboards. This allows athletes to both monitor their performance and also virtually compete. It can even help predict an athlete’s performance on a race course in the future. Other data that can be tracked and received is the speed of athletes and the power or strength behind their pushing of the pedals.
There are hopes that in the future the system could be augmented by adding Virtual Reality technology to create a more advanced an immersive training experience.
The system can be viewed at the Farnborough International Airshow.