Covid-19 has had a dramatic effect on professional sports and the fitness industry. Many professional leagues have been forced to cancel or truncate their seasons, and the closure of gyms has forced exercisers to maintain their workouts at home or in the great outdoors.
But 2020 has also seen tremendous advances in both these sectors, advances driven primarily by computer vision based AI models. By incorporating new technology and innovation, both industries are weathering the pandemic storm and looking forward to a brighter future.
Many of these exciting new AI systems rely on annotated training images and video. Careful annotation of the moving human bodies allows machine learning models to perform in a wide variety of use-cases. Annotation services, like Keymakr, are working with industry leaders to create these data sets.
This blog will highlight some of the emerging applications of AI in sport and fitness and reveal how smart annotation processes are supporting these developments.
AI Assisted Sporting Excellence
Professional sports have been particularly hard hit by the pandemic. From soccer to bowling, restrictions on mass gatherings and transmission between players has severely curtailed sporting activities across the globe. As the industry recovers computer vision AI developments have the shown the potential to improve performance and efficiency:
- Assessing Performance: Computer vision based AI models are being developed that can monitor the movements of individual players and gauge their performance. Working in concert with other sports analytics programs machine learning enabled cameras can observe training sessions and provide feedback on performance to coaches.
These methods can also be applied to scouting methodologies, enabling teams to spot emerging talent before the competition. This technology is reliant on accurately annotated video training data. Experienced operators use skeletal annotation to track the movement of body parts through each frame of a video. AI systems learn how to interpret a player's form and movements from these datasets.
- Tactics: Machine learning is also helping coaches to analyse tactics at a greater level of detail than ever before. AI trained with annotated video of team movements and interactions can be used to identify patterns in opposing teams play. Bounding box processing of video data can allow annotators to quickly locate individual players over large areas, like a soccer field.
- Detecting Injury and Illness: Players and coaches can also significantly benefit from developments in the world of medical AI. Annotated images of medical scans are now being used to train AI models to diagnose injuries and illnesses early. This tech has the potential to keep players fit and avoid prolonged absences during a grueling season.
Cutting Edge Fitness Applications
Whilst gyms have struggled to stay afloat during the pandemic there has been a renaissance in at-home fitness products and services. High end systems, such as Mirror (a home gym) and Peleton (interactive indoor cycling), have seen tremendous growth in sales as customers look for the next advance in personal fitness. Many of these platforms are already employing AI to enhance the exercising experience:
- Maintaining Form and Technique: One significant drawback of working out at home is the lack of training instruction. Poor form can reduce the effectiveness of a workout and can also lead to injury. Happily, computer vision AI models are able to analyse the body position of any individual and then give advice on how to improve their form and avoid accidents.
These systems are again enabled by large quantities of annotated video, in which skeletal lines are traced over the body. The model is shown examples of good and bad form based on these lines and is able to apply that knowledge to the real world.
- Directing Training Programs: AI empowered home fitness platforms absorb information about the body type and movement capabilities of exercisers. This then allows them to suggest bespoke training programs suited to the goals and abilities of each individual. Image and video annotation help to support these holistic training algorithms by analysing body movement in real time.
Keymakr is providing high quality annotations to developers at the leading edge of sports and fitness AI. Contact a team member to book your personalized demo today.