Unless you have a personal fitness instructor following you around with a notepad, keeping track of your progress at the gym can be a real nuisance. Luckily, thanks to a group of students from from Northeastern University in Boston, you can now count on your squid-equipped shirt to do the statistical heavy lifting for you. Squid is essentially a set of electromyography (EMG) sensors attached to a box that pushes your workout data to a smartphone app. This is synchronized with a web-based management panel, to give you a detailed overview of your progress.

Squid's tentacle-like EMG sensors record the electrical activity of muscles. These signals are translated into data visualized in real-time by an application running on an Android smartphone. The mobile app reports on the heart rate, and provides a repetition countdown feature. The details on muscle activity are passed on to a personalized online application, where progress can be assessed on the basis of historical data.

The project is being developed as a joint effort of mechanical & industrial engineering, and graphic design students. With the Nike+ technology for inspiration, the Northeastern University seniors set out to build a device that could be used both by professional athletes and amateurs to effortlessly optimize their gym routines.

As you can see on the video below, so far the results look promising. However, a lot remains to be done before the first Squids become commercially available in two to three years. Technology-oriented fitness enthusiasts are welcome to kill all that time by measuring their calorific output with a fairly similar device, called bodybugg.

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