Technology and Martial Arts

After a great Hampshire Choi Kwang Do festival I have been pondering ways to use some of the readily available technology to help support the teaching of CKD.
CKD is a modern martial art and one that is not set in stone but evolves. Whilst I have only been learning (with predlet 2.0) for the past 6 months I have been impressed with the art’s flexibility.
At the festival we saw some technology to help measure and observe. All professional kit but I wondered what could be done in a maker style at home.
The first thing was to work out if I could build something to measure contact force or pressure. I was looking through my box of bits for the Arduino but then googled and found things like this. The pieces of foam that chips are delivered pushed into have an interesting property that when pressed their electrical resistance changes. They become pressure sensors. I got a small square of foam, put tin foil on either side of it, jammed multimeter probes into it and sure enough when you push on the foam the resistance drops. So next is to make a bit more robust connection, attach it to the arduino and see what happens with the foam gets punched rather than pressed.
The other thing I wanted to check was if the Kinect open source modules would respond quickly enough. I did a quick test using SensorKinect/OpenNI/NITE and it seemed to work. There is a way to go to be able to make sure that we can track the subtle elements of the movements but it will certainly help with some of the angles and stance positions.

I also have a cunning plan with the Blobo if I can get the dev kit to try it out but as it is a 3 way accelerometer with bluetooth connectivity to be able to count hits.

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