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Elite car racers and PowerLab in simulated performance

PowerLab data acquisitions are used in a myriad of interesting life science applications in research, education and the pharmaceutical industry.

The University of Otago, School of Physical Education researchers put ten of New Zealand's top young rally car drivers through a series of high-performance tests, as part of what is believed to be the first dedicated motor sport programme of its type in the world from 28 June to 2 July, 2004.

Two race simulators and a PowerLab system were placed inside an environmental chamber that allowed the temperature to be held at 40ºC (104ºF) - a temperature often experienced in cockpits. It gave drivers the chance to compare recordings of individual measurements such as reaction times and decision-making abilities.

Each driver had two race sessions in the heat chamber, and while they raced all their driving movements were logged using PowerLab's LabChart software. A Powerlab 8SP enabled the researchers to monitor signals from sensors within the modified steering and pedal system, along with timing information from a separate reaction task.

The PowerLab system recorded data from both simulators throughout the barrage of 20 minute races. It worked seamlessly in the 40º heat, and logged a total of 8 channels at 100 Hz for 15 hours over two days of testing.

Data was recorded continuously in LabChart during the races that were held in 40°C (104°F) heat.

7 Sep 2005

By Matthew Goddard

Science Manager

Researcher, Dad and motorbike racer.