Techn. Fakultät Willkommen am Institut für Informatik FAU-Logo

Dipl.-Ing. Peter Blank

Researcher in the Digital Sports group at the Pattern Recognition Lab of the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

Focus of Research
  • The measurement of physiological and biomechanical signals will play an increasingly important role in the future. This includes, for instance, the accompaniment of patients during their therapy, the support of elderly people in different situations of life and the monitoring of athletes during training and competition. Starting from this situation embedded sensor modules are designed and implemented in hardware. The objective is to integrate this embedded sensor modules in clothing and equipment and to evaluate these modules with the help of wireless connected devices. This allows to monitor the activity and health of patients in the medical field, as well as to record and to improve the fitness during sportive exercises.


    ⇒ Hardware Development for Sports and Fitness Applications

    Design and Implementation of Embedded Sensor Systems for Processing of Physiological and Biomechanical Signals

Spinn-off Companies and Industry Cooperations
Activity Recognition and Event Detection in Table Tennis
  • Recent advances in microelectronics, sensor integration and data analysis techniques opened new possibilities for wearable technology (Wearables) and found its way into health, fitness and sports applications and device to be integrated into different body-worn accessories such as garments, wristbands, shoes, smartphones or sports equipment like balls or rackets. Here, we specifically investigated table tennis, because its many possible strokes to achieve spin and speed variations, definitely make it an interesting and promising candidate for research. Furthermore, many variations are possible due to a huge amount of rubbers and rackets. Moreover, different grip styles such as shakehand or pen-holder have become accepted. Despite all these variations, sensor-based approaches can be used to develop a complete table tennis support system and match analysis tool.



    Sensor-based Stroke Detection and Stroke Classification

    We attached inertial sensors to table tennis rackets and collected data of 8 different basic stroke types from amateur and professional players. Firstly, single strokes were detected by a event detection algorithm. Secondly, features were computed and used as input for stroke type classification. Multiple classifiers were compared regarding classification rates and computational effort. Due to classification rates over 95% this approach is able to detect table tennis strokes in time-series data and to classify each stroke into correct stroke type categories. The system has the potential to be implemented as an embedded real-time application for other racket sports, to analyze training exercises and competitions, to present match statistics or to support the athletes’ training progress.


    Further developments:

    ⇒ ball impact detection on the raquet blade

    ⇒ spin and ball speed detection


    Articles in Conference Proceedings
    Sensor-based stroke detection and stroke type classification in table tennis
    Proceedings of the 2015 ACM International Symposium on Wearable Computers (The 2015 ACM International Joint Conference on Pervasive and Ubiquitous Computing), Osaka, Japan, 7 - 11 September, 2015, pp. 93-100, 2015 (BiBTeX, Who cited this?)
Sensor Hardware Development
  • Wearable sensors are an important tool in sports. They can provide individualised feedback during training sessions, give feedback to athletes, and improve their personal health status. Common to all applications is to measure physiological data or biomechanical motion data. Therefore, in this project we develop wearable, small and lightweight low power sensor systems that allow long-term monitoring of physical quantities while maintaining high sampling rates and long runtimes. These system can be integrated into clothing or sports equipment without affecting the athlete's performance and behaviour.



    The first device is a new sensor system based on available low power components. It contains an magnetic-inertial measurement unit (mIMU) including a 3-dimensional accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer. Furthermore, temperature and barometric sensing were added. The core is a powerful ARM Cortex-M3 microcontroller with on-node processing capabilities. The system is powered by a small lithium-polymer battery which provides long runtime and is monitored by a special fuel gauge. A high precision real time clock enables a constant sampling rate and synchronises multiple sensors by supplying an exact global time. These are important features to allow sophisticated signal processing algorithms to be used on highly dynamic sports motions. All parts are mechanically combined in a plastic enclosure, which has similar dimensions of present wearable monitoring systems. This enables fast and easy sensor integration into clothing and sports equipment.


    Further developments:

    ⇒  wireless power transmission link to enable contactless charging of the battery

    ⇒  wireless communication link to enable wireless data transmission using low power standards

    Articles in Conference Proceedings
    Book of Abstracts of the 19th Annual Congress of the European College of Sport Science (19th Annual Congress of the European College of Sport Science), Amsterdam, The Netherlands, July 2-5, 2014, pp. 703, 2014, ISBN 978-94-622-8477-7 (BiBTeX, Who cited this?)
    miPod - A Wearable Sports and Fitness Sensor
    10. Symposium der dvs Sportinformatik, Vienna, Austria, 10 - 12 September, 2014, pp. 78-79, 2014 (BiBTeX, Who cited this?)
Mobile Recording Systems
  • Due to continuous miniaturization, there exist a lot of new sensor nodes with sizes about only few centimeters. Thus, these sensors are small enough to be carried directly on the body or even to be integrated into clothing and sports equipment. They include inertial-magnetic sensors and can be used to measure the heart rate (ECG) and the muscle activity (EMG) of a patient or an athlete. Using a radio link (e.g. Bluetooth®) one or more sensors can communicate with smart phones or tablets.



    In this project we develop different applications for mobile Android® devices, which can be used as fitness training applications, as support applications for patients in healthcare or even as exergames.

    Articles in Conference Proceedings
    Wearable and Implantable Body Sensor Networks (BSN), 2014 11th International Conference on (11th International Conference on Wearable and Implantable Body Sensor Networks (BSN)), Zürich, Switzerland, June 16 - 19, pp. 104-108, 2014 (BiBTeX, Who cited this?)
    10. Symposium der dvs Sportinformatik, Vienna, Austria, 10 - 12 September, 2014, pp. 26-27, 2014 (BiBTeX, Who cited this?)
Modules for Telemedicine Systems
  • Wearable body sensors have become an important basis for today's medical and fitness applications. To assist athletes or to take care of elderly people in everyday life situations, sensor data can be collected and processed to give helpful feedback. However, the data collection process of multiple or di fferent sensor systems still had to be done manually by the user or an expert, which usually takes a lot of time and can lead to errors.



    In this project we develop embedded data collection and communication modules, which can automatically acquire data from various wired and wireless sensors (e.g. via USB or Bluetooth®). The obtained data can be cached, preprocessed and transmitted to a speci fied central server using LAN, Wi-Fi or GMS/GPRS. Through unifi ed expansion slots, additional communication devices and more powerful embedded computer modules (e.g. a BeagleBone—® can be extended to handle many di fferent sensor systems, which force more complex communication protocols) can be added. Moreover, wired sensors can be charged through appropriate circuits. Those modules operate without any input settings and special knowledge by the user.

    Articles in Conference Proceedings
    A data collection and communication module for telemedicine and mhealth systems
    Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Body Area Networks (ICST (Institute for Computer Sciences, Social-Informatics and Telecommunications Engineering), London, Great Britain, 29.9.14, pp. 154-158, 2015 (BiBTeX, Who cited this?)
RoboCup Robot Soccer
  • RoboCup is a international initiative to promote research in artificial intelligence and autonomous mobile robots. Each year the RoboCup Foundation hosts international tournaments where top research groups of Universities from the whole world participate.


    Since 2008, the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg also has its own RoboCup team that participates in the small-size league. This league is one of the smallest and fastest RoboCup leagues. Five wheeled robots per team are playing on a field of about 6m x 4m. The maximum size for each robot is 18cm in diameter and a height of 15 cm. The robots get information about the current game situation from two cameras above the field and an external computer, which communicates with the robots via a wireless link.


    In Erlangen, the team Opens external link in new windowER-Force (all games can be found Opens external link in new windowhere), is organized as an interdisciplinary student project at the Technical Department. The main goals of this project are to foster creative ideas and team work among technical students from electrical engineering, mechatronics and computer science. Research topics include topics from pattern recognition, embedded systems and artificial intelligence. In the scope of this project the Pattern Recognition Lab employs statistical estimation techniques and tries to extend them towards automotive applications.


    To promote the project, a non-profit organisation called Opens external link in new windowRobotics Activitis e.V. was founded in 2008. In this organization team, members as well as supporters of the group are brought together. The project is funded in part by tuition fees as well as private and industry donations.

    Articles in Conference Proceedings
    Eischer, Michael; Blank, Peter; Danzer, Alexander; Hauck, Adrian; Hoffmann, Markus; Reck, Benjamin; Eskofier, Björn
    Robot Soccer World Cup XIX Proceedings (RoboCup International Symposium (RoboCup 2015)), Hefei, China, 17 - 23 July, 2015, pp. -, 2015 (BiBTeX, Who cited this?)
    Bauer, Florian; Blank, Peter; Bleier, Michael; Dohrn, Hannes; Eischer, Michael; Freidrich, Stefan; Hauck, Adrian; Kallwies, Jan; Kugler, Patrick; Lahmann, Dominik; Nordhus, Philipp; Reck, Benjamin; Riess, Christian
    RoboCup 2011: Robot Soccer World Cup XV Proceedings (RoboCup International Symposium (RoboCup 2011)), Istanbul, Turkey, July 5 - 11, 2011, pp. n/a, 2011 (BiBTeX, Who cited this?)
    Blank, Peter; Bleier, Michael; Kallwies, Jan; Kugler, Patrick; Lahmann, Dominik; Nordhus, Philipp; Riess, Christian
    RoboCup 2010: Robot Soccer World Cup XIV Proceedings (RoboCup International Symposium (RoboCup 2010)), Singapore, Singapore, June 19 - 25, 2010, pp. n/a, 2010 (BiBTeX, Who cited this?)
    Blank, Peter; Bleier, Michael; Drexler, Sebastian; Kallwies, Jan; Kugler, Patrick; Lahmann, Dominik; Nordhus, Philipp; Riess, Christian; Swadzba, Thaddäus; Tully, Jan
    Proceedings-CD (RoboCup 2009), Graz, Austria, 29.06.2009 - 05.07.2009, pp. n/a, 2009 (BiBTeX, Who cited this?)