Fraunhofer's Electronic Fitness Trainer (Image courtesy Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft)
By Andrew Liszewski

Exercise is less effective when you’re not properly going through the motions, and there’s even the risk of causing bodily harm when dealing with things like weights if you don’t have the proper technique. But at the same time, not everyone can afford a personal trainer to monitor and provide feedback on their exercise routines. So as part of the ‘FitForAge’ initiative sponsored by the Bavarian Research Foundation, researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute have developed an Electronic Fitness Trainer that’s available to anyone with access to a smartphone, computer or even just a TV.

The system is a combination of a customizable app and a sensor equipped suit that’s able to track the wearer’s position and movements while they’re exercising. The routine they follow is initially setup by a trainer or a physical therapist who ensures that it’s tailored to their needs and capabilities, and that they’re performing the various exercises properly. After that the app takes over, showing a virtual 3D avatar of the person in the suit and providing feedback when their motions or position don’t quite match up with what the trainer had specified. The system allows for trainers to be of assistance to more clients, while not requiring them to always be around during their actual routines, and ensures that the exercises they’re doing are as beneficial and effective as they can be.

[ Fraunhofer – CeBIT 2011: Electronic Fitness Trainer ]