The last few years have seen a growing popularity of both smartwatches and dedicated wrist- based activity trackers among a wide array of user base. They perform a variety of functions that aid the users in many ways and hence have a growing demand. Counting the user’s steps while he or she is walking or running for instance is an important task that benefits the users. However; sadly their functions do not extend to many other athletic activities in reality. Sensing this issues, efforts have been employed by researchers from the Carnegie Mellon university who have now developed a camera- based system which might be an answer to the issue involving smartwatches and dedicated wrist- based activity trackers. Their system has been designed to simply watch the people at the gym while they perform their workout activities. Just by observing them, their system manages to both classify their activities and further count the repetitions.
The repetitive motions are detected by the system’s computer vision software; post which it attempts the classification of those activities. The software was taught how to differentiate between exercises, given their different forms, involving different movements and so on.
Interestingly, with this system a relatively higher number of people can be monitored at the same time in the gym as the camera is designed that way. Additionally, the privacy of the individual stays intact throughout this monitoring simply because the camera system uses a low- resolution video, thus there is no concern of identifying individual persons whose activities are being monitored.
For now the gym at Carnegie Mellon was used to test the system, but the software gives the convenience to run on smartphones and other devices as well. In the near future, it can be expected to be developed as an app that can be downloaded and used at any local gym as a part of the exercise equipment there or at home.
Andrew Gray is a drug policy researcher affiliated with the Faculty of Human and Social Development at the NYU School of Medicine in New York University, New York, NY 10016, United States.