Researchers have worked with industry to develop an interactive fitness system that quantifies fitness and links exercise with gaming.
Professor Franz "Tino" Fuss, Professor of Sports Engineering in the School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, collaborated with Australian tech entrepreneur Brad Bond on the fitness invention, VERSUS.
The interactive VERSUS fitness system uses 3D cameras, motion sensors and TV monitors to track and quantify a range of exercises such as push-ups, sit-ups and squats through cost-effective, yet accurate, sensors embedded in the gym floor.
The scores it produces take into account users' height, weight, age and power.
Breakthrough sensors and algorithms technology invented by RMIT researchers have been adapted for the VERSUS gamified exercise sessions, to ensure exercises are completed correctly and safely.
Mr Bond started working on the concept three years ago and has spent six months running trials at his gym in south-east Melbourne.
"I've been looking at creating something like this for 10 years, but the technology wasn't there for me to be able to achieve what I wanted," he said.
"So far we've had over 150 people trial the equipment, running a couple of sessions a week so we can test everything out and get the calibration right. Some people are now becoming regulars."
The RMIT SportzEdge SmartEquipment team designed and developed the sensor panels for the gym floor and their advanced calibration, as well as the necessary control units required to relay data from the sensors to the VERSUS platform.
The "sensor-less sensing platform" detects force and pressure through sophisticated algorithms and software that can interpret not only the type of exercise, but also the person's performance level (power, strength, fatigue, age).
The platform then converts the raw sensor data into a usable format.
The most important aspect of the technology is that it can be seamlessly integrated within gym flooring, removing the need for participants to wear additional sensors.
The research team received $62,500 project funding through the Victorian Government's Technology Voucher Program to develop a prototype of the system.
In addition, an Enterprise Connect placement of $46,270 provided an opportunity for RMIT PhD graduate Dr Julian Chua to gain experience developing and implementing a new idea with commercial potential.
The Technology Voucher and Enterprise Connect placement programs have been developed by the Victorian Government to drive the use of cutting-edge technologies and to support Victorian companies to compete locally and globally.
Professor Fuss said that given the RMIT SportzEdge team's existing knowledge and expertise base into technology research, development and manufacturing, the collaboration included consultation on applying industry best practice methods for the system's installation and use.
"I am pleased that our recently developed sensor-less sensing technology could be translated into practice and policy so quickly, which is a promising commercial outcome", he said.
"Translation of research is one of RMIT's core strengths, based on a research- and knowledge-driven ecosystem."