Ergometer with landscape and fresh air

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The e-bike is not considered the first choice of sports equipment. In some cases, however, it can be just the thing: An app that enables controlled training is designed to give people with heart problems the necessary security and make it easier for athletic beginners to get started. The Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts and Biketec know how to do this.

Fitness centers are not everyone’s cup of tea. It’s the nicest weather outside and instead you’re supposed to swing on a stationary bike in a stuffy room with little view? And yet, especially for the less fit or people with heart problems, controlled training is important. This may be because the heart must not be overtaxed for health reasons, or because inexperienced athletes often set the training too high and then quickly give up due to excessive demands. Researchers at the iHomeLab of the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts and Biketec GmbH have developed a solution that combines the ergometer of the home trainer with the advantages of an e-bike.

"The e-bike makes everyday life easier for many people and also gives sporty beginners the pleasure of discovering nature on two wheels. We were convinced that it is also ideally suited for controlled training," says Lukas Kaufmann from Biketec GmbH. The solution is an additional function of the FIT E-Bike Control App, which functions as a control center between the measuring devices and the electric motor. One enters the personal data essential for training, such as age, weight, gender and fitness level. A heart belt measures the pulse, the GPS provides information on the terrain, and the app determines the speed of the bike and the current incline of the e-bike. "With all this information, the app can control the motor so that the effort remains constant for the person training - regardless of the terrain," explains Andrew Paice, head of the iHomeLab at Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts.

As simple and obvious as that sounds, technically it was a major challenge. "The most important factor is heart rate, and that reacts differently to internal and external stimuli in each person," says Paice. "In order for the app, in turn, to respond to these differences, we first worked with simulations, which we then verified." The heart rate then had to be connected to various technical systems, which in turn had to be matched with each other: The chest strap and the smartphone with the bike and the controller that transmits the data to the bike. And all this partly with a slightly delayed transmission, because it runs via Bluetooth. Unlike the ergometer in the fitness center, which always has the same conditions, on the road there are environmental influences such as interruptions due to intersections, which no GPS can predict, and which have an influence on the heart rate. FAST must therefore be prepared for these. - The algorithms are currently being optimized and extensively tested. The function will then be integrated into the FIT E-Bike Control app.

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