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The Motion Analysis System

A spin-off company that developed out of the University of Alberta, Dynastream Innovations moved from a simple idea to a lucrative agreement to license their product to one of the world’s largest companies, Nike.

Dynastream was founded in 1998, but their break with Nike did not happen until May 2000. Dynastream's Motion Analysis System includes the Speed Distance Monitor (SDM), a speedometer and odometer for the body. This invention keeps track of the speed and distance travelled by a walker, hiker or runner. The monitor, which attaches to the shoelaces, uses sensors that measure acceleration to calculate the speed and distance and then relays that information to a watch. This allows the user of the "Triax" system, as named by Nike, to keep track of their pace.

As company’s founder Kip Fyfe told Andy Ogle of the Edmonton Journal, a great deal of late nights and early mornings went into the motion analysis system. "It’s kind of hard to describe working ‘til 2 or 3 in the morning and getting up at 7 to do it again. It’s not just one or two of us, but the whole team working like you just don’t see in a regular job. You couldn’t do this if you didn’t love it and really think this is where you want to be going." This commitment and dedication has taken Dynastream from a struggling team working from Fyfe’s garage to a 21-person company developing high-tech athletics products for the world’s largest sports retailer.

Dynastream's development of the light-weight wireless system that calculates and transmits a person's speed and distance took a great deal of product development and improvement. The odometer/speedometer went through numerous transformations, originally needing a laptop and treadmill to accurately perform the same functions that is now processed by a sensor that weighs less than 75 grams. Another essential step in product development was information relay. Originally, the statistics were displayed on a laptop, and then a smaller LCD screen. By transmitting this information to a wristwatch, however, Dynastream made the statistics easy to access, even while running, allowing athletes to know their results at a glance.

The SDM system has recently undergone an upgrade. According to Kip Fyfe, "If you add more sensors, then all of a sudden you can get into a whole array of things. Not only can you measure stride and distance, but the path all joints take." This technology can be used to make "smart" prostheses that move according to the wearer. Instead of having a clumsy second limb, a prosthetic arm or leg would operate as if it were real, reacting to the movements of the wearer. This technology would also allow for easier 3-D imaging. Video-game developers could use this technology to map 3-D models for their games in their homes or offices, rather than in expensive labs. In addition, this mapping could help rehab patients to use prosthetic limbs properly and prevent further injuries.

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Alberta Innovation 2002 Video: Dynastream: Motion Sensor Technology in Cochrane, Alberta.
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