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9DOF IMU Footbag Player Motion Tracker

Freestyle Footbag is an intense sport. There is a lot of jumping, landing, precise and energy-intensive movements for a player’s entire body. I thought it would be fun to track the kinematics associated with some of the motions made by players’ feet. The logical approach would have been to book a mo-cap studio, but this was not in the budget and would have way too much logistical overhead for a one-man show. Instead, I decided to use some small electronics development boards to see if I could make a simple tracking and logging device. The device was planned out in CAD using Fusion360.

The Design

The main processing component was an Arduino pro mini running at 5v and 16Mhz. I paired it with a Sparkfun Openlog SD logger to save data locally and a bluetooth module to send the data in real time to a connected phone. The main sensor was a BNO055 9DOF IMU from Adafruit that was taking (and computing sensor fusion) readings at 10Hz. The device was powered by a 350mAh lipo that was managed by a generic lipo charging board from amazon. The housing was 3d printed out of tough resin on my Anycubic Photon.


I took the device with me to the 2019 World Footbag Championships in Warsaw, Poland and asked some of the top freestyle footbag players in the world to attempt some crazy tricks while wearing the device. I have not had time to process the data yet, but I have some cool ideas for visualizing it in 3d space. For now, here is some of the raw video of the takes.

I have also been working on making the hardware a bit more compact and impact-resistant. If I ever get around to it, there will be a version 2 made and tested. I am thinking it would be possible to attach multiple units tracking to different points on the player.

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