BAE helps GB Taekwondo team evaluate electronic scoring vest

BAE Systems has helped the GB Taekwondo team evaluate the electronic scoring vest used in major international competitions.

The relatively new system introduced into Taekwondo requires fighters to wear electronic socks that deliver a coded signal when they strike sensors on the opponent’s vest.

According to the defence company, the sport has never fully understood how this functions and how to fully optimise appropriate tactics.

As part of a £1.5m technology partnership with UK Sport, engineers and scientists from BAE Systems’ Advanced Technology Centre in Bristol spent more than six months testing the electronic scoring vest using equipment usually used to test composite materials’ resistance to impact.

This has allowed the GB Taekwondo team to adjust its training style to maximise methods needed to score on the vest, giving the team a marginal gain in competition.

Kelvin Davies, BAE Systems’ project leader of the UK Sport technology partnership, said: ‘We found that different parts of the vest behaved in different ways.

‘The differences are small, but they are there. As a result, we have been working with the GB Taekwondo team to validate the results, as the controlled test conditions we create in the laboratory need to be qualified in real-world situations.

‘We are confident that the work we have done with the team will make a real difference in future competitions.’

Gary Hall, GB Taekwondo performance director, said: ‘The new technology is all about electronics and engineering, and from the outset we didn’t really understand how it worked and how tactics should be optimised.

‘However, thanks to BAE Systems… we have adjusted our tactics to reflect the different forces that are needed to score on certain parts of the vest. It certainly looks to have worked very well in training and we look forward to putting what we have learned into practice.’

London 2012’s Taekwondo events started on 8 August. To date, GB’s Jade Jones has won gold in the 57kg class after defeating China’s Yuzhuo Hou 6–4.