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Many activities, such as self-guided exercise, can involve physical interactions with objects while following instructions from a video or website. However, most objects such as a yoga mat or dumbbells have no “smart” capabilities – they cannot monitor the user’s actions or progress. Adding sensing and interactive components to this equipment can allow for a more personalized interactive experience.
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have developed content-coupled objects that can track the user’s actions and provide feedback to a computer-controlled interactive program. As an example, the group has developed an interactive yoga mat that can sense the placement of a user’s feet and hands to determine the pose. This information is sent to the content display to pace the flow of an instructional video.
Rather than proceeding at a fixed pace, the content can be displayed at the user’s own pace for people who are more or less experienced. Beginners who need more time can proceed at a slower pace as the flow of the content is based on the user’s actual movements. A display built into the mat can guide the user’s hands and feet to the correct pose. By closing the loop between the instructional content and the user’s physical state, the exercise experience is more personalized and interactive.
Dr. Rahul Mangharam