Milan Gary was curious what her arms were doing when running. As a busy grad student at Parsons School of Design, The New School, running is an activity that helps to give her energy (and keep her sane). For a mid-term project, she decided to dive into wearable tech for answers.
Our arms ultimately control how fast we run and our posture. Sprinters and long-distance runners use different arm movements due to the change in their stride. So I thought, what if I could create a device that’ll detect when your arms aren’t at the right angle thus alerting the runner to adjust. So I started on the adventure of creating this device.
For her first prototype, Milan created Mathletic, an arm sleeve that reacts to movement using an Arduino, conductive fabric and an LED. The way the conductive fabric pads are set on the sleeve results in a very specific movement of the arm, and that was intentional.
…my mom broke her elbow a couple of months ago and to regain full extension she needs to do an exercise every day. This exercise is exactly the range of motion that you see the girl in the video doing.
The fun part about this project is that there is a bonus. Much like having friends cheer you on at a race, Milan added a servo to the project that rotates a cheerful flag when the arm exercise is executed correctly. This was specifically for her mom, to offer encouragement with her healing. I think with Milan’s tech skills, she may be able to create a wireless version of this sleeve and translate that flag into gaming. Can you imagine if physical therapy went that direction? There would be no more complaints about doing exercises and people may actually start posting their results on social media. I hope Milan received the “A” she deserves for this project and I’m wishing her mom a speedy recovery. Wearable tech is a great way to analyze body motion and for those that are interested in creating their own projects, check out our learning guide for Circuit Playground’s Motion Sensor. Circuit Playground has a ton of sensors built-in and it’s easy for beginners. Get started on your wearable!
Every Wednesday is Wearable Wednesday here at Adafruit! We’re bringing you the blinkiest, most fashionable, innovative, and useful wearables from around the web and in our own original projects featuring our wearable Arduino-compatible platform, FLORA. Be sure to post up your wearables projects in the forums or send us a link and you might be featured here on Wearable Wednesday!