Freewheel brings fitness tracking to the wheelchair

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Chaotic Moon's Tyler Hively taking the Freewheel for a spin

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With a history of producing quirky research projects like a shopping cart that follows you around the store and a stun gun wielding drone, it's no surprise that creative tech studio Chaotic Moon has applied its left-field thinking to fitness tracking. Its Freewheel wheelchair is aimed at keeping tabs on physical activity, and the data it collects could one day be used for improved terrain mapping.

The Freewheel was dreamt up by one of Chaotic Moon's in-house content strategists, Tyler Hively, who uses a wheelchair himself. He and his colleagues got to work, building a wheelchair with sensors in the chair. These include a gyroscope, a barometer, an accelerometer, Hall Effect sensors and a Bluetooth LE chip.

As the user moves around, this sensor array measures things like speed, distance, acceleration incline and decline and collates it into a smartphone or smartwatch app.This data can then be combined with other wearables that track things like heart rate to paint a picture of the user's overall physical activity.

The team says that if enough people are using Freewheel in the same city or area, then the data can be combined to create highly detailed terrain mapping. This could prove useful for hikers, cyclists or elderly people trying to find the least strenuous routes.

The Freewheel chair is only in its prototype stage and Chaotic Moon hasn't yet given too much detail about any plan to turn it into a commercial product. But of all its adventurous ideas, like those mentioned above or its graffiti drone named Tyrone, it does seem the most likely to make it in the real world.

You can hear from the creators and see it in action in the video below.

Source: Chaotic Moon

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