Japanese joint-venture develops gadget that optimizes sail handling

May 10, 2017 | Windsurfing
Windsurfing: Japanese sailors developed a gadget that will optimize sail handling | Photo: Carter/PWA

A group of Japanese windsurfers and scientists have teamed up to develop a gadget that will track and analyze sail handling.

The Japan Windsurfing Association, Fujitsu, and Lapis Semiconductor Co are testing an Internet of Things (IoT) based device equipped with an accelerometer, gyrometer, and geomagnetic unit that can simultaneously record GPS and data across nine-axes.

Project Windsurfing Lab attaches the sensor to a windsurfing sail and transforms the sailor's behavior in the water into visual 3D models and graphs of the movements of the sail.

The team believes that the new technology will bring improvements to sail handling, and will allow competitors to understand what they could do to perform better, by comparing themselves to others.

WindHack: it analyzes sail handling | Photo: Fujitsu

"Because the skill of the windsurfer's control of how the sail catches the wind can have a significant impact on results, the technique of adjusting the angles (rake angle, kite angle, pull angle) at which the sale and wind interact is incredibly important," underlines Project Windsurfing Lab.

"A great deal of sail control depends on experience, which makes scientific analysis also useful in sailing skill acquisition and the improvement of techniques. Now, sail handling can be numerically quantified, and it is expected that combining this with data, such as speed data, and analyzing it will lead to ideal sail control."

The new windsurfing gadget - named WindHack - will be tested by Japanese athletes from May 11 through September 30, 2017. After reviewing the results, the joint-venture plans to include board and sailor movement analysis in the algorithm.

WindHack: optimizing windsurfing and comparing performances | Photo: Fujitsu

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