The day is approaching when joggers will be able to run in perfect sync with their favorite music. Siemens has developed software for music players that makes it possible to speed up or slow down the music in sync with how fast a jogger is running, without affecting the pitch of the musical selection. This turns an MP3 player in a cell phone into a personal trainer — and with additional features, the phone can even serve as a motivational coach.
MP3 players are ideal for walkers and joggers because, unlike portable CD players or cassette players, they are virtually immune to vibrations. Many of today’s cell phones are equipped with MP3 players that can play music from the phone’s internal memory or from an external memory card. When jogging to music, though, it can be quite irritating when the beat of the music is out of sync with how fast the user is running.
This development from Siemens Communications consists of the new software in combination with a step counter. The device is the size of a matchbox and is worn on the hip. Data related to the running style is transmitted to the cell phone via Bluetooth, and the runner’s pace then appears on the display. The software also factors in the length of the jogger’s stride to show the running speed, as on a speedometer, and reports the calories being burned. With the MP3 music playing, the software recognizes the music’s beat and adjusts it to match the runner’s pace. This changes only the speed at which the music is played but has no effect on its pitch.
And the software offers professionals even more possibilities: They can specify a jogging pace via the cell phone, and the music is then adjusted to match the pace. More variety is possible thanks to pre-selected running profiles that can alternately speed the beat up and then slow it down again. By connecting the cell phone to a PC, users can also set this profile themselves to program a run that, for example, builds in intensity and includes slower intervals in which to recover energy. As motivational aids, cheers of encouragement and spectators’ applause can also be mixed in — for achieving a specific running time or distance, for example, which are also fully programmable.
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