Video at Nationals 2010

I am in the control tower at the Australian Canoeing Nationals being held at the Sydney Regatta Centre, Penrith.

I have been working on low cost solutions to sharing video in almost real time. At present I am using a Regatta Centre CCTV camera in iMovie and trying a variety of compression formats. I am fortunate that the camera has its own controls and a zoom lens. I am recording the 200 metre heats.

Here is an example!

Today is a practice for this process for Finals’ Day on Sunday.

Sleeping, Dreaming, Learning

This post starts with the last paragraph I wrote in a post on Attention and Learning:

The aim of this blog post was to share ideas about attention and learning and to support explorations in personalised teaching, coaching and learning. Fortunately I did not lose a lot of sleep over this post. Researching attention and learning is a wonderful way to ensure high quality of sleep. But just when it is safe to go to bed you might want to think about the attention and learning possibilities of sleep, dreams and nightmares. Richard Stickgold’s work and Antti Revonsuo’s research open up fascinating opportunities to explore the learning possibilities of dreams and nightmares.

One of my Twitter contacts shared with me a link to ScienceDaily and an article titled The Mathematics Behind a Good Night’s SleepMark Holmes and Lisa Rogers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute are  using mathematical approaches to sleep research. The ScienceDaily article quotes Mark Holmes: “We wanted to create a very interdisciplinary tool to understand the sleep-wake cycle. We based the model on the best and most recent biological findings developed by neurobiologists on the various phases of the cycle and built our mathematical equations from that foundation. This has created a model that is both mathematically and biologically accurate and useful to a variety of scientists”.

A press release from Rensselaer reports that:

  • The interdisciplinary model is based on the best and most recent biological findings developed by neurobiologists on the various phases of the cycle and built our mathematical equations from that foundation. This has created a model that is both mathematically and biologically accurate and useful to a variety of scientists.
  • Lisa Rogers spent last summer with neurobiologists at Harvard Medical School to learn about the biology of the brain. She investigated the role of specific neurotransmitters within the brain at various points in the sleep-wake cycle. This work trained Lisa to read electroencephalography (EEG) and electromyography (EMG) data on the brainwaves and muscle activity that occur during the sleep cycle. This biologic data forms the foundation of their mathematic calculations.
  • An 11-equation model of the sleep-wake cycle was developed. The research team is working to input differential equations into an easy-to-use graphic computer model for biologists and doctors to study.
  • Lisa Rogers will continue her work on the program after receiving her doctoral degree in applied mathematics from Rensselaer. Her work on the mathematics of the sleep-wake cycle has earned her a postdoctoral research fellowship from the National Science Foundation (NSF). With the fellowship, she will continue her work at New York University and begin to incorporate other aspects of the sleep-wake cycle in the model such as the impacts of circadian rhythms.

A newsletter reporting Lisa’s postdoctoral fellowship notes that:

The human sleep-wake system is a widely researched yet still only partially understood frontier in both the biological and mathematical sciences. Even though extensive measurements have been made of brainwave activity generated during sleep, and much progress has been made on the anatomy of the brain and it’s neurotransmitters, even the basic questions associated with sleep as yet have no definite answers. For example: Why do we sleep? Do all animals sleep? Is the sleep function invariable across species? Should sleep be viewed as a recovery process? Does sleep contribute to brain function by reversing some consequences of wakefulness? Alternatively, is sleep a distinct state, not thought to directly contribute to waking brain function? There is a wide variation of sleep patterns within mammalian species, and thus it is important to stay focused on one particular system. In this case, we are focusing on the human system and we are constructing a neurochemically based mathematical system representing the essential steps in the dynamics of the human sleep-wake cycle.

Mark Holmes and Lisa Rogers’ work has received a great deal of publicity since the publication of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute release. Their work has enormous relevance to those working with athletes and underscores the interdisciplinary dimensions of performance. The aim of this post is to add resources to the applied research in athlete (and coach) behaviour and to make an explicit link with Richard Stickgold’s work and Antti Revonsuo’s research.


I am grateful to Matthias Melcher for an introduction to Daniel Erlacher‘s work in the Institut für Sport und Sportwissenschaft at the University of Heidelberg.  This is a link to Daniel’s thesis (2005) Motor Learning in Lucid Dreams. This a link to research directions in Daniel’s work (and this a translation from German of his research directions). Daniel is researching: memory consolidation during sleep, sleep before competition, motor activity in REM dreams, and better sleep following physical activity.

Photo Credits

Taking a Nap

Played Out


Using video in sport: learning from artists

Sport has been voracious in its use of video. The availability of domestic video cameras and playback facilities since the late 1970s has made it possible to make permanent recordings of sporting events to augment the information available to coaches and athletes. Converging digital technologies have transformed the ways in which video can be captured, stored, analysed and represented. A plethora of on-line video tools stimulated by YouTube‘s success make video sharing increasingly possible and relatively easy (it is YouTube’s fifth anniversary this month and has a global audience of 400 million people).

Access to video through telephones and portable storage devices such as the iPod has extended the reach of video as augmented information. The transformation of broadcast images through High Definition technology is setting new expectations about quality and clarity of recordings.

Perhaps the next wave of developing the use of video in sport will come from the art community. Shaun Gladwell and Sylvie Bocher are two artists who might inform this change.

Shaun Gladwell was interviewed on Radio National Artworks. Shaun is the most recent war artist commissioned by the Australian war Memorial. His appointment was fascinating as his work to date “has displayed a keen eye for edginess, with meditations on road-kill, the outback and the mesmerising movements and symbols of urban hip-hop culture”. “Unlike most war artists who are invited to take the risk of accompanying soldiers into battle, Shaun didn’t wait to be approached.”

Examples of Shaun’s work can be found on his YouTube channel and Blue and White Linework.

Sylvie Blocher is “one of France’s most outstanding multimedia artists”. She produces “video and film installation pieces which explore the concepts of otherness, representation and art’s political responsibility”. Her work “encourages different ways of viewing and understanding the world”. Her website is a wonderful invitation to explore visual presentation. Sylvie’s exhibition What is Missing? is taking place at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney until 26 April 2010.  This exhibition uses images collected in Penrith, NSW. A note about her exhibition reports that:

When creating What Is Missing? Sylvie Blocher stipulated only two conditions for people appearing in her ‘film’: that the volunteer subjects wear their best outfit, and that they lived in Penrith. Blocher’s interview technique often elicits responses of great candour from her subjects. Unveiling the unspoken needs, hopes, dreams and desires of individual residents of Penrith, What Is Missing? is a portrait of the city in which they live – it is challenging, provocative and riveting.

Shaun and Sylvie’s work have encouraged me to think how video might be used differently in sport settings. Their work inspires a new approach to visual literacy.

Photo Credits

Phillips Video Camera

Sylvie Blocher