New Fitness App Ideas? – Free Kit for Good Responses

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by tom76, Mar 15, 2011.

  1. tom76

    tom76 New Member

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    I am beginning to develop a phone app aimed at the fitness market, which will help users to maintain, improve and measure their fitness. It will take data from a wireless heart rate monitor (chest strap), the phone’s GPS sensor and from user input (e.g. weight).

    Of course this can already be done (e.g. Runkeeper, CardioTrainer, iFitness) and the app will include all of the features and analysis present in these apps. However, I am also looking to include novel features that are not available elsewhere – which is where you can help!

    What I would like to know is the kind of novel features that you would find useful in such an app. Are there things like VO2max and EPOC which could be calculated and which you would find useful? I have access to expertise in signal analysis and machine learning – is there any information that might be extracted from the sensor data which you might find useful, e.g. breathing rate, a measure of the user’s level of fitness (e.g. Conconi test), a measure of when exercise intensity is too high?

    Thanks for your time – when (if!) the product comes to market I will send each of you who provides useful feedback with a free sensor/app as an expression of my gratitude.
    Thanks very much,
    Tom
     
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  2. jpr95

    jpr95 Active Member

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    Personally, when it comes to apps, I think they could be so much more if they had a sister program for PC with which they could sync. This could benefit the app in two ways. One, it could allow for easier entry of initial parameters (but still could be done from the mobile device). Secondly, the PC program could download event data for more powerful analysis, graphs, etc. For instance, all telemetry data could be overlaid on map so that pulse, breathing, speed, power, etc. could be pulled up for any given point on the route traveled.

    I like my iPhone, but I hate that iTunes doesn't allow me to enter contact information--it would be much, much faster when I have several I want to input.

    I hope your endeavor works out for you!

    Jason
     
  3. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    How about a user triggered hill timer that captures time, distance and elevation gain from the GPS receiver and with the athlete's weight (and bike/kit weight) plus a swag at CdA/Crr estimates power? It's a test recommended a lot for folks that don't own power meters and it's pretty simple to run but to do it now you've got to know the elevation gain and time/speed and then enter parameters into an online calculator like the versions over at: http://www.analyticcycling.com/ForcesPower_Page.html

    A simpler feature for cyclists, runners, etc. would be to let them define a couple of standard fitness test courses and then track their times over those courses. So you'd start and stop an interval timer on the device and have the option of saving the interval as one of your standard test courses. Over time you could retest against the same known course and store the date stamped results for trending comparison. Again a hill makes it easier to estimate sustained power but the app could track a few different user defined test venues.

    Even using the GPS derived time, speed and elevation gained data along with athlete plus bike and kit weight plus a rough swag of CdA and Crr can allow you to do a very rough estimate of average power and with it kj/calories burned per workout. Basically just a refinement on the look up tables for calories burned, running, cycling, walking, etc. but a refinement based on the actual speed/elevation deltas of the workout.

    I don't know if you're going to do any nutrition tracking in this app, but every one I've used tracks calories in vs. calories out on an individual day basis and then the next day is basically starting from scratch. Trouble is a big ride day might result in a big caloric deficit that I don't fill as there's a limit to how much I'll eat on a given day. Another day might be a rest day and a struggle to stay on the plan but realistically what matters is the long term running average not the day by day accounting. I'd like to see one of these apps that tracks calories within the day but also shows one or more multi-day running averages perhaps a 3 and 7 day running average along with the intra-day status. For folks training big days, shorter days and taking rest days it makes a lot more sense to track calories against weight maintenance goals on these longer time frames.

    Good luck,
    -Dave
    P.S. One more thought. One pretty good use of HR is to measure heart rate recovery times after intervals. IOW, either measure the time it takes for the athlete's HR to drop to a user defined level after hitting the 'end' timer on an interval or capture the HR value after a predefined elapsed time after the end of the interval. Again that could be stored in a file associated with the interval type for trending/tracking purposes with the basic idea that faster HR recovery times or further HR drops in the same time interval indicate improved freshness or fitness.

    BTW, I assume you'll have the basic user defined and predefined interval timers for stuff like Tabatas and standard 8x1 or 5x5 style short intervals. If so the HR recovery feature above could be integrated into the interval timer function to capture HRR at the end of each 'on' interval and store it for review and fitness tracking purposes. Other things to track could be mean and peak HR during each 'on' interval or at the tail end of say a Tabata set or other things like that so that in addition to the timer telling you when to punch it and when to end each interval it also traps workout metrics at appropriate times and stores the results for future comparison.
     
  4. tom76

    tom76 New Member

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    p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica}
    Thanks very much for the feedback - will keep you updated on progress.
     
  5. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    An interval app on the iphone would be handy. I wrote a wee java routine that reads in a text file that you can edit to alter the session - it'll be handy when I get to doing the short/hard stuff on the trainer with limited rest time between intervals - but that requires a laptop/pc. Just something that displays very basic information - two or three lines at the most. Rest or ride, timer, next interval...

    An ANT+ receiver to add power functionality from a device such as a PowerTap hub or SRM to the interval program would be ace. Input your threshold and enter the level information for each effort and have it tell you if you need to ease off or get your finger out to do the intended effort properly. With a bit of alteration you could do something pretty handy for a constantly incrementing ramp test.

    I think some of those ideas I nicked from the old Kingcycle bag of goodness but those times were too painful to fully recall exactly what was going on.
     
  6. YosemiteGirl

    YosemiteGirl New Member

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    I absolutely love the Runkeeper app for iPhone. What it is lacking is some functionality for cyclists. The ability to run with ANT+ accessories such as a cadence/speed sensor is lacking, although it will run with a HR Monitor.

    Something that many of the apps don't like to do is run in the background. I like that Runkeeper will do that, and allow me to run the iPod function at the same time. It also takes a detailed log of my route, which sometimes I change at the spur of the moment, so being able to look back at your "track" to use a garmin term is indispensable. The other great thing about Runkeeper is its online interface - it tracks everything and integrates well with Facebook and Foursquare.

    I have also recently started looking at http://www.abvio.com/cyclemeter/ , an app called Cyclemeter that has a more cycling friendly interface but STILL won't run with a cadence sensor. Frustrating.

    I think what would really make you stand above the competition would be 1) compatibility with cadence sensor 2) ability to run in the background (so it can't use the accelerometer) and 3) seamless integration with social media.

    Good luck and let us know what you come up with!
     
  7. MountainCruiser

    MountainCruiser New Member

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    I currently use RunKeeper on my Android phone and really like it. On thing that does annoy me is the fact that it only tracks total time and does not track rolling time, the only way that I get a true avg. rolling speed is to remember to pause and then restart at each stop. ANT+ capability would be great so that I could track cadence and heartrate! I would also like to be able to compare ride performance to a previous ride or even be able to load a file from a friend and compete against their ride on the same course.
     
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