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A revolution in ski jumping

Force sensors improve performance around the world

The ski jumper pushes off the ledge, crouches down, and picks up speed: From 0 to 90 kilometers per hour (56 Mph) in two to three seconds. He adjusts his center of gravity to the radius of the ramp, looking straight ahead. Then he puts all his strength into pushing off the end of the platform. The torque created by his jump brings the jumper into the right attitude for flight. His center of gravity shifts forward above the skis, his legs are fully stretched: Now he is airborne.

Faster, higher, further

On average, only one in every 100 jumps has a perfect launch. The approach, launching energy, and torque combine to determine the range. Every tiny movement of the jumper can decide between victory and defeat.

This is why Peter Riedel, former ski jumper and specialist for sports equipment, has worked together hand-in-glove with Althen to develop a measurement system that analyzes which forces are at work at the end of the platform.

“I had the idea to fit the platform with a tight grid of force sensors in order to get a continues measurement throughout the entire jump-off. Althen proved to be a highly competent and reliable expert and implemented my ideas excellently.”
Peter Riedel, former ski jumper and specialist for sporting equipment

Dynamometric measurements on ski jumping hills

Althen’s solution: Sensors are mounted directly underneath the run-up track to record every detail of each athlete’s jump-off. We used the AOBU load cell as a force sensor. These cells are typically used in industrial applications to measure fill levels.

For the ski jumping hill, we developed modules that cover the entire stretch from the run-up to the jump-off platform. A unique challenge was posed by the length of the athletes’ skis: they are three meters (almost ten feet) long. However, the force needs to be measured at the exact location of the athlete’s leg.

Our system is sensitive enough to master this challenge and still deliver reliable results. Today, our technology is being used on ski jumping hills around the globe, helping the world’s best ski jumpers improve their performance.

About the measuring system:

  • 60–80 AOBU-250 single-point bending beam load cells
  • Customization for the system

 

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