For most athletes, “no pain, no gain” is a philosophy to live by. However, too much pain can be bad, as excessive muscle fatigue could lead to serious injury. The difficulty is that athletes rely on their own perception of muscle fatigue when training, and often it is too late by the time they feel sore.
A new device from the University of Essex, called the iSense, allows athletes to train without risking injuring their muscles due to overexertion. The iSense works by predicting and detecting the status of muscles during training. Sensors measure small electrical signals muscles produce when they contract. If the device detects that there is too much strain on a muscle, it will warn the user.
Though the iSense was designed with athletes in mind, the technology can be used in other applications, such as for the elderly and disabled, who often suffer from muscle fatigue due to lack of movement.
Article @ University of Essex: Getting the most out of exercise
Paper: An Autonomous Wearable System for Predicting and Detecting Localised Muscle Fatigue (.pdf) Sensors 2011, 11, 1542-1557; doi:10.3390/s110201542