To solve these problems, RMIT researchers have built a prototype for a new advanced gym machine, Smart Gym, a muscle diagnostics and exercise machine that records muscle data without any sensor (sensor-less sensing) and provides different training modes.
And being smart it also measures the current exercise state of a muscle group, indicates the onset of fatigue, adjusts the mechanical resistance automatically and is lightweight and portable.
It’s also a winner in that it prevents joint and muscle overload and injuries, provides real-time performance feedback, can be used on the playing field, is auto-powered, uses smartphones as a platform, and is far cheaper than standard exercise machines.
Smart Gym is the brainchild of Franz Konstantin (Tino) Fuss, Professor of Sports Engineering, and his co-inventor and Masters student, Robert Smith.
“The first sensors were analog, followed by digital sensors,” Fuss says. “What comes after digital sensors? No sensors at all.”
After having developed several smart and instrumented devices such as climbing holds and walls, ten-pin bowling balls, wheelchairs, cricket balls and AFL balls, Fuss is currently developing a biofeedback shoe without any sensors, in cooperation with the Australian company Rizmik.
“The principle can be applied to other medical and sports equipment and even to applications in daily life such as beds, car and aircraft seats, or military use,” he says.
“Everyday life will change significantly in the next decades with embedded and distributed sensors for ubiquitous and pervasive computing, connected to smartphones and iPads.
“The cheaper and the smaller the sensors are, the better it is. Having no sensors at all for measurement purposes is the best solution of all.”
Fuss, Editor-in-Chief of the Sports Technology journal, won second prize at the sports technology pitching competition at last year’s inaugural Australian Sports Technologies Network conference with the Smart Gym idea.
Fuss and Smith filed a provisional patent on the project last October and are now working with Australian Sports Technology Ventures (ASTV), which commercialises Australian sports technology, on finding investors for the project.
Story: Kevin Slack
Photo: Carla Gottgens
This story was first published in RMIT’s Making Connections magazine.