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April 2013: The Armchair as a Fitness Trainer

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

April 2013: The Armchair as a Fitness Trainer

The Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits ISS project GEWOS developed an exercise armchair for senior citizens who wish to exercise in the comfort of their homes.

The armchair, which looks and feels like a conventional armchair, is equipped with sensors and circuit boards, allowing it measure key body functions and determine correct sitting posture. A tablet PC applied to the armchair transmits this recorded data to the TV via Bluetooth and WiFi connection. On the TV screen, the user can then view pulse rate, blood oxygen saturation, blood pressure or weight.

A virtual health assistant analyzes this data to custom-tailor an exercise program, for which the armchair transforms into a rowing machine similar to the ones in fitness studios. “The armrests become the oars and a support for the rower’s feet pops out below the seat,” according to Sven Feilner from the Fraunhofer IIS Image Processing and Medical Technology Department in Erlangen, Germany. During exercise, the virtual assistant records the individual’s progress and vital signs to recommend corrections or more exercise.

In 2012, GEWOS was tested by 100 senior citizens at the Ambient Assisted Living Conference and ranked first among 14 different assistance products. In March 2013, visitors at CeBIT, the world’s largest trade fair showcasing digital IT and telecommunications solutions for home and work environments, also tested the exercise armchair. To learn more, please click here.