Georgia Institute of Technology students have crafted a device that allows individuals to constantly compute the calories they burn - even as they sleep.
"It's a completely converged device," said Garrett Langley, 21, a senior at the Georgia School of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) who spearheaded the project. "It's a single unit that provides complete fitness monitoring and management."
Dubbed 'HappyHR', the instrument is a personal monitor that allows users to measure and compare day-to-day physical and caloric activity. The name is a reference to the euphoric feeling that follows an intense round of exercise - the "happy hour".
The small, rectangular instrument straps to the wrist or ankle, gathering data related to heart rate and exercise. The information is then transferred via Bluetooth to a PC, where the statistics can be analyzed through Web-based software.
Although the device focuses on calorie counting, Langley envisions more thorough health applications including respiratory and glucose monitoring.
This tool began as a senior design project for Langley, who viewed a market place that was lacking such technology coupled with a results-hungry populace eager for more health information. An aspiring entrepreneur, he also found that it provided an organic way for him to develop a business.
An avid runner, Langley himself was frustrated at the challenge of quantifying fitness results.
"I saw that there was a huge gap in the market," he said. "There are simple $30 pedometers, and there's nothing in between that and $400 health monitors." Comparatively, HappyHR should carry a $100 price tag if it becomes commercially available.
Shortly after conceiving the idea, the development process became an inter-disciplinary endeavour incorporating several colleges at Georgia Tech.
Fellow electrical engineering student John Hamilton, biomedical engineering students Stephen Mann and Nathan Kumar and industrial design student Stuart Lawder all contributed their expertise to actualizing Langley's concept.
The result: a deft and subtle device that resembles a compact MP3 player more than fitness monitoring technology, said a Georgia release.