Publication Date

Fall 2021

Document Type

Final Report

Embargo Date


Problem Statement

The Rowing Force Plate is a device that is designed to measure a rower’s force
over time so that they can understand how hard they are rowing. Most rowing
aids communicate the speed at which someone is rowing, which is variant on water
speed, wind speed, and other inconsistent environmental and situational factors.
Force, however, can be consistently measured and is a better indicator of effort a
rower is exerting. Other products that measure force do exist, but use complex and
expensive technology, unlike our design.
After brainstorming and analyzing multiple possible designs, we concluded to use
four force sensors under the existing shoes in the boat would be the most feasible
design. These force sensors would be connected to an Arduino (a microcontroller),
which would then display data to a screen for the rower to read while rowing. This
design was chosen over other concepts because of its high expected accuracy, low
weight, and fairly easy integration with existing systems.
We set three performance goals of measuring force at time point, accurately
measuring force, and making the device strong in tension for safety purposes. The
initial prototype was able to measure force at time points and be strong in tension,
but could not measure force accurately. This was due to electronic issues with
old load cells measuring force and integrating with the circuit. With new load
cells, we were able to meet our prototype performance goals, and were even able to
successfully use the device in a real boat on the water.

Author's School

McKelvey School of Engineering

Author's Department

Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science

Class Name

Mechanical Engineering Design Project (MEMS 411)