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Performing physical exercises properly and at a healthy rate improves the benefits one gets from them. A team from Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS in Erlangen, Germany has unveiled a special suit that knows how you’re moving and breathing, and can transmit that information to a computer, smartphone, or other device. In turn, one of those devices can analyze the movement and provide both visualization of how you’re doing and guidance on how to improve your technique.
The electronic Fitness Assistant consists of a sensor suit that collects information about its wearer’s movements and transmits current measurement results to a television, computer or smartphone. During exercises, a T-shirt monitors the wearer’s breathing. The smartphone provides a user interface, analyzes the collected data, gives the user feedback on the success of his or her training and can instruct the user on gymnastics or rehabilitation exercises. Plus it is all individually tailored to the needs and demands of the individual wearer.
First, a trainer or physical therapist creates a personal training plan on the electronic Fitness Assistant. Under his or her supervision, all of the exercises are recorded once to ensure that they perfectly match the user’s own performance levels. Then, the exercises can be repeated in the home environment. An «avatar,» a digital trainer, performs the exercises in real time – on TV, for instance. The program then compares the exercise being performed with the results of the recording and makes any needed adjustments to the wearer’s posture. The goal is to playfully motivate the wearer to exercise more. The areas of application include exercise programs for senior citizens or patients undergoing rehabilitation. Combined with digital games – gaming consoles have shown how it is done – the electronic trainer can also be tailored for use by younger people.
Rogelio del Pino Algarrada