Ray Ewry Sports Engineering Center begins work, launches website

A new Purdue center that commemorates an Olympic track and field star and alumnus is up and running with research projects and sports technology initiatives under way.

Photos of Purdue athletes

The Ray Ewry Sports Engineering Center (RESEC) was announced during Homecoming 2019 as a collaboration between Purdue’s College of Engineering and Intercollegiate Athletics that features a partnership with the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

The center is named in honor of Ewry, an Olympic gold medalist in the standing long and high jumps and standing triple jump and the first Big Ten athlete in history to win an Olympic gold medal. By the end of his third Olympic Games in 1908, he had won eight gold medals, setting a medal count record that lasted 100 years until broken by Michael Phelps. Ewry is a mechanical engineering alumnus who also taught at Purdue.

RESEC, located in the Indiana Manufacturing Institute at Purdue Research Park, recently launched its website that contains a wealth of information about the innovative research being conducted, Purdue’s rich history of Olympic athletes, a full list of the leadership team and additional information about Ewry.

The center is led by Executive Director Jan-Anders Mansson, a Purdue Distinguished Professor of Chemical and Materials Engineering and co-director of the Indiana Next Generation Manufacturing Competitiveness Center (IN-MaC).

“Sports have the power to unite, to teach, to challenge, and to initiate change, and those are our goals for RESEC,” says Mansson. “We are driven by our passion for sport and a deep understanding of the influence it has in shaping society. As technology continues to advance, there is enormous room for opportunity to rethink how athletes train, coaches coach, fans engage, and event organizers plan events. Engineering and data science are at the center of excitement, health and safety, and the integrity of sport, and by bringing a data-driven, analytical approach to this industry, we can address the growing need and desire to increase participation and engagement of athletes and fans.”

Described as being at the interface of sports and technology, RESEC investigates and draws attention to the latest trends in sports technology and engineering. The website’s Games Flash page, which is a product of the collaboration with IOC, features conversations with high-profile experts on current topics, including virtual coaching and reverse streaming. The interviews are conducted by Anna Giesler, RESEC’s student lead and a first-year PhD student in materials engineering.

One of the center’s priorities is building partnerships in industry and the community to create innovative solutions to the sports technology challenges of today and tomorrow. Together with the International Swimming Federation (FINA), Giesler is working on a study of homologation of swimsuits and permeability. The Holland, Mich. native, a swimmer herself, was a member of the Purdue varsity swim team and Honors College and was named a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar. More collaboration partners will be announced in the coming months.

The RESEC’s IOC liaison is Christophe Dubi, Olympic Games executive director.

“We are pleased to be collaborating with Purdue University,” Dubi said. “As the IOC continues to evolve and develop the Olympic Games, Purdue’s expertise in science and technology will be a valuable support to our work.”

RESEC has three overarching research areas: smart performance and fan experience; injury reduction and advanced rehabilitation; and sports integrity, fairness and social integration. Within those fields, the center’s team is specifically targeting the following subjects:

  • Digital interactive athlete and fan experience
  • Digital-based sports execution system
  • System tailoring for “feel and control.”
  • Smart materials for performance and safety
  • Design for prosthetics and injury rehabilitation
  • Simulation-integrated prototyping (Promptotyping™)

The details of each focus area and how RESEC is addressing them can be found on the website.

Purdue and RESEC are set to host the next International Sports Engineering Association (ISEA) conference in 2022. The event is the main global sports engineering and science conference, and venues compete heavily to be selected as host.

For more information about RESEC, contact Mansson or Giesler or visit the center’s website.

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