Competitive athletes win or lose races by fractions of seconds. Just ask Erik Guay of the Canadian Men's Alpine Ski Team who in 2010 won a World Cup Super-G race in Kvitfjell, Norway, by a mere 0.02 seconds ahead of his nearest rival. The use of technology to measure and enhance performance, particularly in a sport like skiing that involves speed, distance and timing, is critical. Precise knowledge of rate of descent, lateral accelerations, and gate crossing times is critical to analyzing strengths and weaknesses.
In 2006, a research partnership was formed between Professor Lachapelle, Professor of Geomatics Engineering at the University of Calgary's Schulich School of Engineering, and the Canadian Alpine Ski Team, resulting in the development of an ultra-precise, ultra-light and autonomous sensor for performance measurement and analysis. To be successful, the sensor had to: