First Steps for FieldLab Sheffield

Work will begin soon installing the first of FieldLab Sheffield.

Up first is a running loop, sprint straight, and an outdoor suspension rig. The Fieldlab will also have a small basketball court; and we are currently looking innovations for this area. More on this later.

Running Loop

The FieldLab is installing a prototype timed running/walking loop to see how this might stimulate outdoor exercise for all ages at Lowfield. The loop uses the park’s peripheral 377m footpath, and places a sensing antenna under the footpath that will register a user-worn RFID tag as it passes. A large outdoor digital display will show the lap times to users as they pass the antenna. User lap times will be sent to the FieldLab SQL database and then posted to a user’s personal web page.

Sprint Straight

A 50m sprint straight will be created on a short uphill section of the peripheral path that runs adjacent to the children’s play area. The footpath will be painted to look like a running track, and be timed using two of the HD cameras mounted on the 3G pitch floodlight columns. Using bespoke image processing software developed by Sheffield Hallam University, the cameras detect a person ‘ready’ at the start, records the frame at which the start is initiated, and then records the frame when the runner reaches the finish. Sprint time is displayed on a large outdoor digital display.


The FieldLab will use a low-cost smartphone as a physical activity sensor – using the on-board accelerometer and GPS sensors to record user activity level during research and evaluation projects. An app has been developed that automatically sends the data to the FieldLab server located in the U-Mix building via the local wifi network. The data is stored in an SQL database to make it easily accessible for analysis.

Suspension Rig

As far as we are aware, this rig will be the first to be installed in a public open space. Similar to the TRX rigs found in many fitness clubs, this equipment provides excellent all over body conditioning. It extremely versatile and fun and can be adapted to a wide range of abilities and users.
This gives an idea what it will look like.

Image of 8 people using a TRX suspension frame

TRX frame in use

Navy Seal, Randy Hetrick, says,

“it is the most versatile piece of exercise equipment on the planet… a gym in a bag”.

This gives an idea of how it can be used.


Next up will be basketball. We are currently investigating technological innovations, including smart sensor flooring, and new ball technology. We will be talking to basketball players about this shortly.

Check this out for a taste of the stuff we are considering.

And a jazzed up version


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