February Featured Case Study: Developing a Virtual Personal Trainer With LabVIEW

Friday, February 28, 2014

For many, the gym’s weight training area is an intimidating place. Because it’s often crowded with intense bodybuilders and pieces of equipment that look like an injury waiting to happen, it’s easy to choose the more user-friendly stationary bike. Professional trainers can show you how to lift weights properly, but training sessions are typically expensive. Luckily, a student from Ireland may have solved this problem.

Martin O’Reilly developed a resistance training biofeedback system and virtual strength and conditioning trainer application for his final year project at NUI Galway. After noticing many issues that currently exist in resistance training, O’Reilly realized he might be able to combine LabVIEW coding, kinematic sensors, and his knowledge of sports science to develop a system that helps a user safely and effectively train towards their fitness goals.


So how does the system work? The user wears Shimmer 9DOF sensors that stream to a LabVIEW application using Bluetooth. The application then acts as the user’s personal strength and conditioning trainer by guiding them through goal-specific exercise routines, providing them with real-time feedback on their training technique, and offering them long-term feedback and motivation towards their overall training goal. Plus, it tells the user exactly how to complete the exercise to reduce the risk of injury.

The system has been tested on 20 users (10 elite athletes and 10 less-experienced resistance training participants) with results showing a great improvement in exercise technique. In the future, O’Reilly plans to “make the sensor set suitable for all users in all environments”--  no more excuses for skipping your workout!

>> Read the full case study.