Intelligent Leggings For Runners Could Be The Next Big Wearable Tech!

Wearables are changing our way of living and habits. From Smartwatches to activity trackers and to Sports trackers, wearables are changing the way we associated ourselves and our fitness. There is much to come. Wearables are in their boom and they will soon be launching with different forms. We have a lot to expect and a lot to shock over when new technologies come.

In order to end some of our cravings and to fulfill our curiosity related to them upcoming wearables, we looked into the recent conversation of Roger Ribas Manero and team at King’s College London. Robert and company have designed a new device that measures muscle fatigue during activities such as running. This device is the first of its sort.

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Muscle Fatigue is very difficult to measure due to a number of different reasons. There are sensitive methods which include inserting a fine wire into the muscle to measure the electrical stimulation of the nerves and determine the force the muscle can exert. Another, easier, approach is that the electrodes are attached to the surface of the skin to monitor the electrical activity of the nerves below. All in all, this method is easy but not suitable to perform. Because both of the techniques can cause tehns of thousand to measure outside the lab.

Now Ribas Manero and co have designed a device with more effectiveness, flexibility, and cheap rate. The idea of the team is to use ordinary pair runners’ leggings with electrodes and circuitry that connect to a portable Arduino microprocessor. This then collects and analyzes the electrical stimulation data. This circuitry is double stitched in a zigzag pattern to allow for stretching. And the entire device is powered by a 7.5-volt rechargeable battery.

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The setup by the team is very important in a sense that it can easily be used by those who are not experts, too. The embroidered circuit pattern ensures that the leggings automatically position the electrodes in the correct anatomical locations when they are worn. So the user needs no medical experience to position them. And the circuitry is relatively cheap and easy to produce.

The team has also tested the legging with two different runners on different tracks. The runners were asked to wear them while jogging with their paces around five-kilometer routes on three different surfaces—an asphalt track, an athletics track, and a sand track. The leggings perfectly recorded the position of muscles throughout the use.

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The data collected by the leggings is very important and shows changing patterns. It displays how e runner’s leg muscles begin to work harder, tire quickly after a minute or two and then get their second wind before tiring again. However, this tiring occurs quickly on sand, less quickly on asphalt, and least quickly on an athletics track. This is the first time this kind of experiment has been performed. The technology along with its diversified experimentation is sure opening doors to new athletic future.

All the runners who want to get rid of injuries and want to know about the fatigue prior will find these leggings helpful. The new wearable with a real-time presentation of muscle fatigue could be really helpful for the running techniques and training methods.

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Ribas Manero and company explained that;

“[The data] suggests that running on sand increases the likelihood of suffering from RRIs when compared to the asphalt and athletics track surfaces.”

Additionally, a better insight into how muscles exert force could be beneficial in the design of better biomechanical prosthesis and in understanding power demands for bipedal robots. Certainly, this new wearable technology pushes us into the entire new era of wearables. You will not only get to know about your position and game stats but the analytics of your energy used and how tired they are after a long run.