Hye-Young Jo, Chan Hu Wie, Yejin Jang, Dong-Uk Kim, Yurim Son, Yoonji Kim.
Working out alone at the gym often lacks the quality and intensity of exercises compared to the training session with a personal trainer. To narrow this gap, we introduce TrainerTap, which simulates the personal trainer's presence during solitary weightlifting workouts. TrainerTap replicates the trainer's manual interventions of tapping the trainee's body parts to capture their attention on target muscles and provides auditory guidance to support executing the movements at a consistent tempo.
Problem: Gap in Exercise Quality between Solitary workout and Trainer-led workout
Working out alone at the gym often lacks the quality and intensity of exercises compared to working out with a trainer. How can we improve the experience of solitary workouts?
Solution: Wearable System Replicating Personal Trainer's Tactile and Auditory Guidance
We present TrainerTap, a weightlifting support system that simulates a personal trainer’s tactile and auditory guidance for more engaged solitary workouts.
TrainerTap Weightlifting Support System Prototype
In trainer-led workouts, personal trainers tap your body parts to help you become more aware of muscle movement. Also, the trainers count the repetition out loud and give encouraging comments to sustain tension throughout the exercises.
To replicate these trainers’ tactile and auditory guidance, the TrainerTap system consists of three key components: a y-motion detector, vibration devices, and a mobile app.
First, a Y-motion detector is a simple device on a bar sensing the user’s vertical motion. It is composed of a Bluno Beetle, a compact-size Arduino with Bluetooth capability, coin-type batteries, and a distance sensor.
Second, Vibration devices are placed inside the gym clothes pocket and mimic the trainer’s touch. Each device is composed of a Bluno Beetle, batteries, and a vibration motor.
Finally, a mobile app facilitates communication between devices and provides auditory feedback.
During solitary workouts, TrainerTap takes over the role of trainers and mimics their tapping actions and auditory guidance.
Let’s see how the TrainerTap works in action.
First, the user selects the target exercises in the mobile app.
Next, following the app’s instructions, the user attaches the Y-motion detector to the bar and places vibration devices in designated pockets.
Then, the user starts the workout with three repetitions. During this warm-up, the y-motion detector calibrates the bar height to determine the user’s range of motion.
The y-motion detector tracks the user’s motion throughout the following workouts and sends it to the mobile app.
The mobile app uses this motion data to signal each vibration device.
Vibration devices vibrate in different patterns according to the user’s motion to guide which muscle to use and when and how to use them.
Alongside tactile feedback from vibration devices, the mobile app provides auditory guidance, such as counting the movement, breathing guidance, and cheering the user.
The Big Three Lifts with TrainerTap
Our initial prototype supports the popular big three lifts and provides four tactile feedbacks on primary and secondary muscles in each workout using four vibration devices. We designed these vibration patterns with three experienced trainers. Each feedback contains different messages from the trainers, and please refer to our paper for more details.
Hye-Young Jo, Chan Hu Wie, Yejin Jang, Dong-Uk Kim, Yurim Son, Yoonji Kim. 2023. TrainerTap: Weightlifting Support System Prototype Simulating Personal Trainer's Tactile and Auditory Guidance. The 36th Annual ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology (UIST '23 Adjunct), October 29-November 1, 2023, San Francisco, CA, USA, 2 pages.