MUTOX: Gym Wear prototype

Wearable Design Concept | UX research |2019

 
MUTOX: An EMG Sensor Based Wearable Muscle Notification Device in Isolation Exercise
MUTOX is a wearable using surface electromyography sensors to detect the movement of target muscle and wrongly used muscle and to give the user vibration feedbacks while an incorrect movement is being performed. The idea of our project is inspired by the MyoWare device which is an MMG sensor and senses he muscle activity and provide LED feedback. During the personal training process, maintaining the right posture and activating the right muscle are significant, especially for most novices. The wrong muscle use can lead to unwanted training effects or even severe injuries. For instance, when a novice is getting fatigue while doing the bicep curls, his/her body might start to compensate for the bicep failure using the movement of the trapezius, which can cause unwanted exercise on trapezius and neck soreness.
My Role
Logistics
Objective
User Interviews, literature Review, Product Design, Wearable development,  Usability Testing
Software Used: Particle cloud: Embedded C, Miro, 3D designing
Team count : 3
Duration: 2 Months

Poor posture and wrong muscle activity in uncoordinated exercise can in turn, decreases sports performance while simultaneously increasing the risk of injury due to factors such as muscle compensation and overuse.

​Our basic goal is to design and develop a wearable that will help and encourage people to do exercise efficiently and effectively without getting injured due to incorrect posture or improper way of doing exercise.

Find the pain points of the gym goers of different levels: from beginner to athlete and to design a wearable product solution with the following goals in mind :
  • To provide the user with a hassle-free gym experience.
  • To increase user confidence and hence user engagement in the gym
Problem
Problem Scoping
Design Process
Incorrect postures  while performing exercises with weights )is the primary reason for injuries and lack of commitment to continue the gym for workout which also brings the following problems along with it:
Lack of Confidence in weight training for beginners
Frequent muscle soreness and injuries
Embarrassed feeling among people in gym
privacy concerns of notification device for postures

Due to time limitation and to be able to understand gym users and their related problems,we have followed the following rocedure:

  • Literature review of related research

  • Interviewed our professional trainer friend to find out the requirement of different types of customers and their challenges in the weight training.

  • Followed shadowing method for observing users in the gym.

  • Planned on creating a wearable with different weight exercises.

  • User testing with users 

Gather User Requirements
Literature Review
Interview
Observe Users
Ideating Designs and Development cycle
Development  of an wearable
Design ideas
User Testing
Analysis
User testing and find insights on improvement
Literature Review

"The specificity of strength training: the effect of posture" paper founds about the importance of posture in weight training and suggests improved results without injuries.

"MyoVibe: vibration based wearable muscle activation detection in high mobility exercises" paper shows the how MMG sensor can help in sensing muscle activity and can be used to detect accurately muscle activity in high mobility exercise.

Using the insights from the papers, we decided to use MMG sensors to detect muscle activity in particular exercise so as to provide different feedbacks to the user when they are in improper posture.

User Research
Affinity Mapping 
Insights

To understand the user's needs and problems, we have:

  • Observed some users by shadowing

  • Conducted unstructured interview with a professional trainer to understand the types of exercises, users motivation, types of users they deal with and their concerns.

  • Lack of basics of common exercises like posture and line of the body

  • Users types: beginners, moderate users and athletes

  • mostly novice users find it hard to practice the basics and hence injuries.

  • Even athletes and moderates users do not follow the proper posture sometimes and lift way heavy weights which results in muscle sore and injuries.

  • Trainer cannot be 100 % attentive all the time to all customers. Sometimes, they handle customers in groups of 4-5 at least.

Wearable Design Ideas
Wearable Components

Vibration Motor-feedback

MMG Sensor 1

Micro- controller

LED

MMG Sensor 2

Light Feedback

Sensor 1

Sensor 1 is used to detect the muscle activation of biceps. It is working together with a LED indicator showing the level of muscle activity.

Sensor 2

Sensor 2 is used to detect the muscle activation of upper traps. It is working together with a vibrator and a single LED light.

Power

All the electronic components are drive by a portable power source.

Photon Microcontroller

All signals are processed through Photon in order to give respective feedback

Usability Testing

Each participant did a background survey before the test. Then they did 2 tasks wearing the MUTOX hardware. After the test, they did a post-test questionnaire.

Study participation criteria:

  • 6 participants from RIT in total, 4 females and 2 males

  • Age: 19-26

  • 1 did a pilot test and 5 did formal tests

  • The compensation is a $10 Amazon Gift Card

Research Questions
  1. What kind of appearances would user prefer for fabric wearable devices? 

  2. What kind of feedbacks is preferred by users? Will users understand the feedbacks offered by MUTOX ?

Tasks

TASK 1:

Do 12 reps of bicep curls without weights with proper posture.

TASK 2:

Lift weight 3 lb and shrug shoulder and do 12 reps of bicep curls.

Results 
Design Recommendations:
Placements

Participants had hard time to find out about the placement of the prototype,

There tried to wear in the following body parts:

  • Knee

  • Upper Arm

  • Elbow

  • Waist

Design Recommendations:
Texture and size

Participants feedbacks on texture and size :

  • Rough, and non-dustproof 

  • Heavy, and with low air permeability

  • Size is too big

  • Design is unfashionable

  • Visible wire connections

Performance Analysis
Results

Design:

Average: sweat, hot, not comfortable enough like gym shirts.

Free movement but not ideal for fast exercises.

Feedback analysis:

Most people see light to know the status and mapped LED with muscle activity.

 

Recognized Vibration when shrug:

Likes:  3 (attention, privacy, warning, feel), 

Dislikes:   2 (irritate,+ve feedback)

 

Recognized light when shrug :

Likes:    2 (comfortable, diff color)

 Dislikes:    1 (attention, +ve feedback)

Future Work

Integrate reusable Conductive Fabric Electrodes into the new appearance instead of using biomedical sensor pads.

The places of Conductive Fabric Electrodes should be able to be adjustable.

Adjust the sensitivity of the sensor

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