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Thursday, January 31, 2013

From the Desk of Mr. Y. Speed: Letter of Circulation

Today, in this breviloquent letter of circulation, I want to tackle some minor issue that was reported to me. Because I stay in close proximity to the sport, I often talk with all kinds of officials. Recently, acquainted judges come and tell me the following: "Y.", they say, "we sometimes have problems with judging certain components. More specifically with the assessment of the Performance and Execution Component. How should we, for instance, determine the physical, emotional and intellectual involvement, good Y.?"

My 1st answer is always:
"Well, they are skating, aren't they, so for sure they are greatly physically involved, no? Hahaha!"

  My 2nd answer is usually:
"Don't worry. I will think of something to make easier the life of judges and make the sport fairer and more measurable in objective matters.

So I sat down to cerebrate, and eventually I excogitated a solution to the problem with said component and the assessment of various kinds of involvement. Let me manifest the basic tenants and technical advancements of this remedy.

Emotional Involvement:

Whilst studying the history of Cinematography and related things, I came across experiments that were done in the 1920s by certain directors who wanted to test new technology. They wanted to assess and measure acting immersion ability and emotional involvement of the actor with regard to the potential role he would be playing. On that basis the perfect actor for a role was attempted to be found. That idea of objective measurement of ability appealed greatly to me. To measure the emotional reaction and involvement, actors would be connected to a device similar to a polygraph (commonly known as lie-detector) which measured heart rate and breathing rate, for example. See the picture on the right to get a good impression of how that actor was connected to the apparatus.

We will intruduce a similar measuring device to assess the emotional involvement of the skater. Of course, we will not cover one eye and partly obstruct the mouth. Like in polygraph testing, we will watch a number of factors like blood pressure, heart rate etc. To prevent any confusion by physical exhaustion factors, our software will match the performance data against previously collected control data. This control data will be collected in a special practice session without skating to the music, the skater will also be asked to not involve himself emotionally while ticking off the elements. The software will then convert the results into numbers that will be part of the component. Of course, the equipment will be desgined light and constructed to not obstruct the skater while performing, transmission of the data will be wireless.

Intellectual Involvement:

To assess intellectual involvement, and also assist in measuring emotional involvement, skaters will in the future have to wear a wireless EEG-Cap, see the picture on the right. With the help of electroencephalographic measurings, certain brain waves and actitviy in brain areas will be assessed. For example, Gamma and Beta waves, indicators for crossmodal sensory processing, and activity in the somatosensory cortex will be important. The detailed proceedings and finer aspects on how to compute the brainwave and areal activity data into the appropriate number of intellectual involvement will be worked out by our neuro-scientific committee. For aestethic purposes, the rules will allow the skaters to wear a wig over the EEG-Cap.

In the end, all these factors will be computed and applied to the P/E component already given by the judges. That component will then accordingly increase or decrease, depending on the strength of the involvement.

Incontrovertibly, this puts the sport once again a big step forward in its quest to be more objectively measurable and absolutely transparent. It also encourages skaters to emote in their programmes and gives them an incentive to work on their emotional and intellectual powers and train them like a muscle to be used during competition.

With the best wishes, always looking forward to developing the sport

Y. Speed

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