What We Do

Vertical Biometrics LLC is a startup company that studies heart rate variability (HRV) and biomechanics of elite athletes, aiming to create an innovative way to personalize training, improve performance, and avoid overtraining and injury. 

We aim to establish an innovative and simple methodology to accurately assess an athlete's physical and mental state using heart rate data and multiple wearable sensors. 


Here is just one of many research projects we are engaged in. This summer, our company sponsored a group of interns to develop application of our technology to rowing.

Rowing is perhaps the only sport that requires all eight athletes to move in complete synchronization, pushing the boat forward like a well-tuned racing engine. Tiny difference in movement of just one of the oars results in significant disruption to the whole process, and can make a difference between coming in first, and coming in last in the short 2K race. This is what the athletes train for, complete unity, and in today's technology-rich environment it's still largely done with yelling and observation. The perfect stroke is an elusive goal that is often hard to reach, especially when you train too hard. Once rower loses focus, precision disappears too.

We observed a marked difference in HRV between individual rowers during various training loads. While some of the rowers had a rapid change in both heart rate average value and variability, others had a much slower response to the same load. Moreover, we observed a significant decrease in HRV (a measure of stress level and adaptive response capacity) towards the end of the practice, likely due to depletion of muscle energy and oxygen levels, a so-called anaerobic threshold. It was clear that different athletes reach this threshold at different times, as expected. It is also well established fact that athletes do not have an easily quantifiable method to assess this effect, and rely on their physical state self-assessment, which is often affected by judgement and other, sometimes unrelated influences (such as onset of health or mental issues).

While measuring HRV, we also measured how athletes perform. In rowing, performance is directly related to quality of the stroke, as well as power output per stroke. Additionally, in the boat with two, four or eight rowers their synchronization is just as critical. Using onboard motion sensors, we were able to assess those parameters in real time, and relay feedback to coaches that would be useful for corrections during practice. Specifically, we were looking at the "best" power curve and stroke synchronization as the training practice progressed. Data shows clear degradation in quality of both of those measures, correlated with drop in HRV, as well as changes in heart rate response to variable workload.

 

Our study has for the first time established an easy, readily available method for accurate assessment of athlete's physical and mental state, using combination of heart rate variability and motion sensors.

We will keep you informed about further interesting research done at Vertical Biometrics LLC.