MSU profs develop sensor for physical activity data
Professors in the departments of electrical engineering and kinesiology have partnered together in an effort to learn more about how the human body reacts to physical activity to better improve overall health.
The research involves the development and testing of a new type of wearable multi-sensors, developed by MSU engineering professor Subir Biswas.
Using multi-sensor technology has proven to provide more accurate results. The technology employs three different sensors that are placed on the wrist, ankle and upper arm, he said.
“Once the sensors are in place they measure certain things including acceleration, proximity and posture and how they all work together and affect one another,” Biswas said.
Biswas said the main reason for conducting such research and developing the technology is to show the connection between cardiovascular disease and physical activity and to better understand how to treat individuals at risk of cardiovascular diseases and obesity.
“Once we measure the human activity in an automated matter, we can then upload the information to a medical server,” Biswas said.
Psychology senior Sarah Tarrant, who was exercising at IM Sports-West on Monday, said being able to better understand how physical activity affects the human body is beneficial, especially for those trying to
“If doctors can use this information and specifically tailor it to the patient, instead of just showing up to a gym, the person will know exactly how to approach their workout.”
The new technology holds the potential to serve a broad range of uses, including furthering the understanding of how individuals physically interact with each other, said assistant professor of kinesiology Karin Pfeiffer, who is working on the project with Biswas.
“We could put these wearable network of sensors on kids in a classroom and determine who’s playing with who or how active they are during the school day,” Pfeiffer said. “We could even use the network to send out all the information and data collected to a mobile device, like a cell phone, and people could take that back to their health provider or doctor.”
The only testing so far has been conducted using prototypes Biswas developed, with testing of the actual device beginning in January,
The project is being funded by a $411,000 grant from the National Institute of Health during a two-year span.
“This is the beginning of a long line of research,” she said. “The possibilities with this new technology are almost endless because there are so many directions we can go in with it.”