As virtual reality continues to make headlines as it floods into the main stream tech scene, one startup recently funded by Innovation Fund Northeast Ohio is hoping virtual exercise follows suit.
Bodies Done Right (BDR) is developer of an innovative virtual training software meant to improve corporate wellness. The company’s patented BDR© VE Trainer features a personalized avatar that responds to the user’s heart rate—the primary indicator of any workout’s efficiency.
The company’s co-founders, Dominic Carbone and Robert Kaleal, developed the software based on a 2006 study that proved the effectiveness of heart rate training. The study found that a uniquely designed, individualistic exercise program using heart rate training resulted in impressive health benefits for every participant, regardless of his or her age or fitness level. After six weeks, every participant saw significant improvement in body composition; cardiorespiratory endurance; flexibility; balance and stability; strength and muscular endurance; resting heart rate; and blood pressure.
I talked to Robert about this new software and how it can change the way we exercise.
Why is heart rate monitoring so important when working out?
The intensity that your heart beats during a workout plays a significant role in your metabolic rate and how many calories you will burn during that workout. It also helps determine what fuel source is the primary one being burned during the workout. Our software will find the user’s optimal heart rate range for exercise and then monitor his or her heart rate throughout the workout via a wireless heart rate monitor.
What does the VE Trainer do with that heart rate info?
It’ll use that information in real time to keep the user in the optimal heart rate zone while they’re doing their exercise, which has been customized by the user, a trainer, physical therapist, or physician. The VE Trainer will verbally instruct the user to stay in the zone if they’re at, speed up if their heart rate is too low, or slow down if it’s too high. And then it’ll automatically adjust the speed of the workout based on the user’s heart rate. Once the workout ends, the results are recorded and can be analyzed by the user, a healthcare professional, or a physical therapist.
What makes your technology different than anything on the market today?
It’s not just different; it’s the only technology that can do this. Because of our patent, no one else can create a custom exercise program based on the users’ unique heart rate. Even though it’s so unique, the VE Trainer doesn’t require any special hardware. It can be connected to most off-the-shelf heart rate monitors and can run on any PC, laptop, tablet, or mobile device.
How can virtual exercise change the way we think about and approach fitness?
Technology and gaming are literally at the tip of everyone’s fingertips. It only makes sense that the future of virtual exercise will change how we approach fitness. Think about it, people are always looking for a way to lose weight or get healthier. But either they don’t know what to do or how to do it, or a previous injury is preventing them from performing certain exercises. In that same breath, healthcare companies are looking for ways to get individuals to engage in exercise but haven’t had a way to track it. Now employers and insurance companies can reward for movement because they have the accountability covered, and the compliance that physicians and therapists are looking for. Just wait until we turn this application into a game.