When a dancer wants to confirm the angle of their wrist or the arch of their back, they’ll train in front of a mirror. Because as good as they may be at feeling the intricacies of their limbs, an outside perspective offers an objectivity that you simply can’t match within your own nerves, which is why we the see the same idea in high-speed cameras that capture everything from golf swings to swimming strokes.
But could we beat the mirror?
Birmingham City University professor Gregory Sporton may have done just that with his newly developed MotivePro, a suit that senses body position and vibrates when one of your parts is out of whack.
Rather than working like a traditional motion capture system, which outfits someone with those tiny white balls, films them, cleans up the points to create a frame, and then offers an idea of how someone moves, the MotivePro simplifies the process, measuring just a few body parts in relationship to one another in real time. When preprogrammed with a particular movement in mind, it’s enough to clean up the backbend of a rhythmic gymnast, or even train a nursing student how to lift from their legs rather than their backs. And all of this data can be recorded, enabling someone to see their performance evolve over time.
It’s a relatively simple idea–sensors hacked together with the vibrating motors found in cell phones–but I can already imagine countless uses in my own life, from ensuring that my ankles don’t get in front of my knees when I run, to my posture being reasonable while I write. It’s the sort of technology that, if made small and cheap enough, could be something you always wore to track movements and warn you before doing something particularly painful to your body–you know, like attempting anything more challenging than a brisk walk after the age of 20.
[Hat tip: gizmag]