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The surface of a running track (i.e. cinder or rubber) has an effect on a runner's performance. I would like to get some device for measuring how much energy a runner loses on each surfaces. I've tried to rig up a system with a ball and measuring how high it bounces on both surfaces, but this hasn't worked out well.

Is there a device I could get that I get which would measure how much energy is lost when a body strikes a surface which would work on a cinder and rubberized surface?

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  • $\begingroup$ Can you elaborate a bit on why your bouncing-ball apparatus is failing to give a measurement? $\endgroup$
    – chase
    Feb 8 '14 at 23:18
  • $\begingroup$ Is there a reason why the Coefficient of Restitution is inapplicable? en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coefficient_of_restitution $\endgroup$
    – Bryson S.
    Jul 16 '14 at 12:01
  • $\begingroup$ The closer the bounce height ratio is to one, the closer the collision is to elastic and the less energy is lost during the impact ($C_R=\sqrt(h_2/h_1)$). All you need to do is use the the vertical velocity of the runner's foot and the foot's mass to estimate the kinetic energy, then multiply by (Cr)^2. $\endgroup$
    – Bryson S.
    Jul 16 '14 at 12:07
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Couldn't you program an accelerometer to do this for you? I am a mobile developer but I don't know how precise the measurements are for the device.

But I assume you could measure the shock on the shoes from any where on the body this way.

http://www.analog.com/library/analogdialogue/archives/43-05/accelerometer.html The link explains some real world uses for the device.

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  • $\begingroup$ This seems to me by far the best solution. The energy lost will be a complicated function of the way your joints and muscles respond to the flexure of the surface and measuring the energy lost by some test object like a bouncing ball would be at best a crude analogy. $\endgroup$ Jan 10 '14 at 11:35

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