Innovations for physical fitness through AI


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Professor Yan (first from left), CIMDA colleagues, and their school collaborator in a sharing session for the two new AI technologies that support physical fitness for students and teachers.

Two new AI technologies that support physical fitness for students and teachers have been developed by the Centre for Intelligent Multidimensional Data Analysis (CIMDA) at City University of Hong Kong (CityU).

CIMDA is a world-class research centre established under the InnoHK programme funded by the Innovation and Technology Commission (ITC).

Sports Activity Assessment and AI Runner Track, which are affordable and easy to set up, provide students with an immersive digital experience and make it easier for teachers to monitor progress accurately.

For the first innovation, Sports Activity Assessment, which is a runner simulation system, users only need to wear a small and lightweight ankle-band for warm-up exercises simulated as a racing game with five modes: skipping, star jump, high knee run, push-ups and sit-ups. The gamification of the warm-up exercises can boost student motivation and overall physical performance as the quality and speed of their warm-up directly influence performance in the racing game.

The other innovation is AI Runner Track, a runner assessment system gamified with racing elements but with a heavier focus on monitoring time and speed. A tag that users attach to their vests while running will be automatically detected by cameras along a running track. The system can accurately capture the running time and speed in real-time of a large group of users, even ranking them from fastest to slowest.

Sports Activity Assessment gamifies warm-up exercises which can boost student motivation and overall physical performance.


“Our objective is to introduce new technologies into the PE curriculum to support teachers on tedious and lengthy evaluation work with quicker and more accurate solutions while also giving students the benefit of a more fun and efficient PE lesson overall,” said Professor Yan Hong, Director of CIMDA and Wong Chun Hong Professor of Data Engineering.

The systems can be used at schools and any sports institutions that hope to introduce technology to aid physical training for groups of over 35 people and, even if the subjects move quickly, the evaluations are automatic and instant, capturing results shown in real-time and making it easier for students and teachers to monitor progress and improve performance.

“As neither of our systems requires a lot of equipment to begin with, the overall cost is much lower than similar systems, which may require more expensive gear,” said Professor Yan. “In addition, our systems are ready-to-use as they are not difficult to set up even for those not as well versed with computers and electronic devices, so you can save on costs and time spent on pre-implementation work such as staff training or student workshops.”

The use of cutting-edge AI is increasingly widespread, aligning with Digital Society, a strategic research theme championed at CityU to foster the development of digital innovations.

CIMDA closely works with a number of world-renowned universities and other world-class research leaders from institutions and industries. CIMDA casts its cutting-edge research into real-world applications in multimedia and biomedical big data analysis, sound/music/dance composition, virtual coaches for dancing and fitness exercises, digital entertainment, elderly care, computer animation and augmented reality, and parallel hardware accelerators based on field programmable gate arrays and application specific integrated circuits.


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