Sweet prize for ex­er­cise

Townsville Bulletin - - CLASSIFIEDS - LU­CIE VAN DEN BERG

SCI­EN­TISTS may have found the ul­ti­mate way to help­ing even the lazi­est among us reach their sweet spot when it comes to ex­er­cise – re­ward­ing them with choco­late.

And the more they move, the bet­ter the sweet treat they re­ceive at the end of it.

In a world- first, RMIT Univer­sity re­searchers will give peo­ple a 3D prin­ter con­nected to a heart mon­i­tor that cre­ates choco­late treats.

If they meet their ac­tiv­ity bench­marks, the ma­chines will print choco­late emoti­cons and mo­ti­va­tional mes­sages to see if it spurs them on to work out even harder.

Not only will the mes­sages be linked to their per­for­mance, the more they ex­er­cise, the smoother or thicker the choco­late will be­come.

RMIT Ex­er­tion Games Lab’s Mr Ro­hit Ashok Khot said wear­able de­vices, such as heart rate mon­i­tors and pe­dome­ters, were be­com­ing in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar among peo­ple keen to mon­i­tor their phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity.

“Most of this data gets trans­formed into data or a graph on a screen, which might be good for an ath­lete who is train­ing for a big event but for the av­er­age per­son, this data may seem over­whelm­ing and they may be more mo­ti­vated by a vis­ual rep­re­sen­ta­tion that cheers them up and tells them that they have done a good job,” he said.

As part of his trial, par­tic­i­pants will wear heart rate mon­i­tors that mea­sure their phys­i­cal ex­er­tion and the data is fed into the prin­ter, which turns the in­for­ma­tion into vis­ual rep­re­sen­ta­tions of their per­for­mance.

“If the user was ac­tive, it will print out a smi­ley face made from choco­late but if they sat all day and had a low heart rate then a frowny face will be printed.”

Other items that are printed are “well done mate” or “U rock” or, if the par­tic­i­pants did not per­form well, they may re­ceive a mes­sage en­cour­ag­ing them to give it another go to­mor­row.

“Us­ing choco­late to rep­re­sent phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity data can of­fer a mul­ti­sen­sory ex­pe­ri­ence com­bin­ing vi­sion, touch, smell and taste, which in turn could sup­port new ways of en­gag­ing in phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity,” Mr Khot said.

He said while some may ar­gue against us­ing a food with a high calo­rie and sugar con­tent for the study, it was picked be­cause of its as­so­ci­a­tion with high and pos­i­tive emo­tions. It would be in­ter­est­ing to see if the par­tic­i­pants ate the choco­late or shared it with oth­ers. And to en­sure the par­tic­i­pants are not con­sum­ing too many ex­tra calo­ries, they are lim­it­ing peo­ple to a to­tal in­take of 30ml a day.

Pic­ture: TONY GOUGH

SWEET TREAT: Ox­ana Serova tries ex­er­cise with choco­late for mo­ti­va­tion.

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