UTM’s Visual Signal Device Revolutionizes Track and Field for Malaysia’s Deaf Athletes

JOHOR BAHRU, 9th March. –Track and field differ from most other sports because it is solely measured in meters and seconds, where even a tiny fraction of a second can be the determining factor. Hence, the technology to record data from track and field races must be exceedingly precise and accurate.

However, it is a big challenge for deaf athletes who are hearing impaired and cannot listen to the sound of gunshots, especially in track events such as 100 m, 200 m, and 400 m and relay sprinting disciplines such as 4×100 m and 4×400 m.

In addition, the current practice of ‘manual flag waving’ to signal the deaf athletes for take-off from starting block does not solve the problem. This practice is not synchronous with the timer and photo-finish for real-time and accurate results records.

To address this issue, a group of researchers from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) have come out with an innovative Visual Signal Device (VSD) – an assistive visual light (red, blue and green) to imitate the sound of a gunshot for the deaf athletes.
By Mohd Fadthul Ikmal Misnal