There have been reports of the sudden death of some film actors and other big personalities. Despite being healthy and young, these deaths happened due to cardiac arrest. Experts say a big reason for this is excessive exercise.
IIT scholars have now come up with an innovative device that will raise an alarm about the risk of heart attack due to excessive exercise.
IIT Gandhinagar researchers have invented a cardiac-sensitive AI-enabled Virtual Reality-based treadmill exercise platform that prevents risk of over-exercising.
This innovation offers an adaptive, progressive and immersive exercise experience, which can lead to improved cardiac endurance, dynamic balance, and walking pattern, thereby preventing risk of over-exercising.
It can prove to be very useful for healthy gym/treadmill users as well as patients suffering from gait disorders.
The modern and fast life of the 21st century has its own share of boon and bane. Regular exercise is one of the ways to lead a healthy life in this fast-moving world, but people seldom know about their exercising capacity and end up over-exercising. Sometimes this may also result in fatal accidents due to cardiac overload in healthy gym users and individuals with gait disorders (who suffer from excess energy expenditure during walking).
Given the spectrum nature of one’s exercising capacity, individualised exercise intensity becomes very important to ensure adequate exercise outcomes and reduce possibility of any fatal accident.
Generally, decisions regarding the level of exercises are taken by trainers or clinicians who closely monitor an individual’s cardiac and physical capacities and regulate the exercise protocols. However, continuous monitoring and the presence of a trainer or clinician during such gait exercise sessions might become a challenge with limited healthcare resources.
To address this multi-pronged and often neglected health concern, a team of researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar (IITGN), led by Prof Uttama Lahiri, Professor of Electrical Engineering, has invented a virtual reality (VR) based treadmill exercise platform – ‘PTreadX’ – that offers personalised, adaptive, and progressive treadmill exercise, such that the user is neither under-challenged (limiting the outcome of exercise) nor over-challenged (causing undue stress or harm).
This invention was part of the PhD research by Dr Dhaval Solanki, a PhD alumnus of IITGN, who was joined by Prof Manasi Kanetkar, Assistant Teaching Professor, Design and Innovation Centre; Nirav Kumar Patel, Industrial Designer; and Anand Chauhan, Junior Research Fellow, IITGN.
The VR-based immersive task modules in ‘PTreadX’ are integrated with treadmill-based exercises to help monitor one’s cardiac load in real-time and set exercise parameters to improve cardiac endurance without causing any undue stress or harm to the user. It works as a physiology-sensitive system whose functioning or behaviour is dependent on the physiological parameters and comfort level of the user.
The entire system senses the physiological behaviour of the user and autonomously decides the challenge level of the exercise to be performed by the user. The challenge level can be of various forms, such as changing of treadmill speed, elevation, etc.
The VR-based task module in this system offers various simulated scenes/environments and displays a human avatar walking or running along a path at a speed equivalent to the speed of the user walking/running on a treadmill. It also shows other information such as treadmill speed, energy consumption, heart rate, etc, along with audio-visual feedback based on the user’s performance on the treadmill.
The successful trials of the invented technology have shown that real-time, individualised, and progressive gait monitoring and quantification of treadmill exercise resulted in improved cardiac endurance, gait capabilities, walking speed and dynamic balance of individuals doing exercise using PTreadX platform. This platform helps a person follow a moderated exercise regime according to the limits of his/her body thereby reducing the risk of injuries or fatalities due to over-exercising.
Talking about the usefulness of this innovation, Prof Uttama Lahiri said, “PTreadX can prove to be very useful for health-conscious gym/treadmill users and also for individuals with gait disorders. We aim to bring positive change in the lives of health-conscious exercise enthusiasts as well as patients requiring gait rehabilitation.”
The research team has also filed an Indian patent for this innovation. Moreover, the results of this research invention have been published in two international peer-reviewed journals.